Italian sports minister and the emergency supremo of the Soccer Federation (FIGC) Wednesday rejected calls for those implicated in a massive match-fixing scandal to be granted an amnesty if the Azzurri win the World Cup.
Four top clubs -- Juventus, AC Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina -- face relegation from Serie A if a special FIGC tribunal finds them guilty of misconduct.
The tribunal is also considering the cases of 26 club executives and Federation officials accused of being part of a network set up to steer matches in some clubs' favor.
These individuals, many of whom are also under criminal investigation, risk being banned from the sport for between one and five years.
"The Azzurri have realized soccer can be a dream, but off the field, sporting justice must run its course and punish those who have done wrong," emergency FIGC Chief Guido Rossi said.
"In Italian soccer, there is a side that wins, which is Lippi's national team, and an Italy that has to change".
The amnesty proposal was made by MP Maurizio Paniz, a member of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party and a supporter of Juventus.
Now that the Azzurri have reached Sunday's World Cup final, the pressure for a reprieve from supporters of the clubs involved is likely to increase.
But Sports Minister Giovanna Melandri made it clear she intends to resist it.
"It is stupid to talk of an amnesty. Soccer needs major reform, " said Melandri.
"The national team's matches are one thing, the sporting trials are another. Let's keep them separate."
Several Azzurri stars have spoken out against an amnesty too, including AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso.
On Tuesday FIGC prosecutor Stefano Palazzi called on the tribunal to send Juventus down to the third division and asked it to relegate AC Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina to Serie B.
Palazzi also asked for Juventus, which is in the hottest water because its former executives are believed to have been at the heart of the scam, to be stripped of its 2006 and 2005 titles and to start next season with a six-point penalty.
The FIGC prosecutor wants Lazio and Fiorentina to start Serie B with a 15-point penalty, while he thinks Milan should kick off the season at -3.
On Wednesday the accused and their lawyers started their defenses.
The so-called Moggi-gate scandal is the biggest to hit the sport since a 1980 betting case in which Paolo Rossi -- later Italy's 1982 World Cup hero -- was among the players banned.
Lazio and Milan were relegated to Serie B as a result of that scandal.