Juventus coach Fabio Capello resigned yesterday in the wake of a match-fixing scandal, as a prosecutor recommended that the Italian giants be relegated at least two divisions.
Earlier Italian football federation prosecutor Stefano Palazzi called for the relegation of AC Milan, Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina, on the third day of a trial where 25 people are also accused of sporting fraud.
Capello, who has just turned 60, is expected to take over the reins of Real Madrid for a second spell following Sunday's election of new Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon.
He took over at Juventus on May 28 2004, succeeding Marcello Lippi who is now the Italian national coach.
Palazzi requested Juventus be dropped to below the second division and that AC Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina are relegated to the second division.
He also proposed that the four clubs be deducted points 15 from both Lazio and Fiorentina, six from Juventus and three from AC Milan which will be imposed at the start of next season.
Juventus' equity on the Milan stock market immediately dropped 7.59 per cent following the prosecutor's request.
Palazzi has also asked that the last two Italian leagues titles won by Juventus are stripped from the club.
On the same day that Italy face Germany in the World Cup semi-final with 13 of the squad from the clubs involved, though none of them or coach Marcello Lippi are implicated Palazzi did not disappoint those who demanded any wrongdoing be punished severely.
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said the recommended punishment on his club was "absurd" and "inappropriate," adding that: "The world of sport has an absolutely unacceptable political will and agenda."
Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo, Juventus' top officials during the 2004/05 season, are threatened with being excluded from all sporting activities for five years. Fiorentina's Diego Della Valle and Claudio Lotito of Lazio were also facing five year suspensions.
AC Milan official Adriano Galliani, who recently resigned as president of Italy's professional football league, is set to receive a two-year ban and Franco Carraro, who recently resigned from the Italian football federation presidency, is facing a five-year suspension.
After two days of discussions, Palazzi dramatically changed his tone on this third day.
He described the system which helped top clubs influence which referee they had for their matches as "sophisticated" and "intelligent."
"There is irrefutable proof that there were interventions (by Moggi) on the designation of referees in the 2004/05 season, the only year which this trial is dealing with," added Palazzi.
He continued that AC Milan official Leonardo Meani also influenced linesmen, asking them to get involved in contentious offside decisions.
Referring to the four clubs, Palazzi spoke of repeated and multiple lobbying to FIGC officials "not to get higher-quality refereeing but to get the referees they wanted."
The prosecutor also highlighted a telephone conversation between the recently-resigned FIGC vice-president Innocenzo Mazzini and Fiorentina official Sandro Mencucci, in which the former explained to the latter what the club needed to do to stay in the first division.
Fiorentina just managed to stay in the first division in the 2004/05 season with the same number of points as relegated Bologna.
The trial was to continue yesterday afternoon with testimony from the accused.
Earlier yesterday, Italian football federation official Paolo Bergamo resigned. The lawyer of Bergamo, one of two officials involved in designating referees under suspicion in this trial, announced his client was stepping down from his role at the FIGC.
Source: China Daily