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Napoli hit with match-fixing related points deduction

updated 11:29 AM EST, Tue December 18, 2012
Napoli captain Paolo Cannavaro has played for the club since 2006.
Napoli captain Paolo Cannavaro has played for the club since 2006.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Napoli deducted two points after two players fail to report match fixing
  • Captain Paolo Cannavaro and Gianluca Grava hit with six-month bans
  • Former Napoli goalkeeper Matteo Gianello banned for 39 months
  • Napoli deny any wrongdoing and say decision has arrived too late

(CNN) -- Italian Serie A title challengers Napoli have been deducted two points after two players failed to report match fixing to the Italian football authorities.

Club captain Paolo Cannavaro and Gianluca Grava were both handed six-month bans for failing to flag up former Napoli goalkeeper Matteo Gianello's intention to fix a match between the Naples club and Sampdoria in 2010.

Gianello, who left Napoli in 2011, has been banned for over three years, while the club were fined $92,000.

The points deduction pushed Napoli, who issued a staunch denial of any wrongdoing, down to fifth from third in the Serie A table.

Read: South Africa rocked by match-fixing scandal

The Secret Footballer says in the early days of in-play betting players used to make money by manipulating elements of the match such as who would win the first throw in. The Secret Footballer says in the early days of in-play betting players used to make money by manipulating elements of the match such as who would win the first throw in.
In-play betting
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Juventus fans hold up three stars to signify the 30 championships won by the club, but two in 2005 and 2006 have been struck off the official records after the "Calciopoli" match-fixing scandal. Juventus fans hold up three stars to signify the 30 championships won by the club, but two in 2005 and 2006 have been struck off the official records after the "Calciopoli" match-fixing scandal.
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"The president Aurelio de Laurentiis, the head coach Walter Mazzarri and the whole team are calm, being confident that no violation could be attributed to Napoli," read a statement from Napoli, which is to appeal the Italian Football Federation's decision.

"While not entering into the obsolete and outdated principle of objective responsibility, and reserving any comments on legal action for the appropriate forums, Napoli does not agree with the decisions of the national disciplinary committee, considering that they should not be able to irretrievably alter championships that are already in progress.

"Any decision must be made before the start of a tournament or at the end of it. There has been enough time to evaluate and make a decision since the 2009-10 season. We are confident that true justice can be applied to the separate decisions, based on law and equity."

Cannavaro, the younger brother of Italy's 2006 World Cup winning captain Fabio Cannavaro, has started all but one of Napoli's league matches this season.

Prior to Tuesday's punishment, Mazarri's team sat eight points adrift of leaders Juventus, but will now slip behind Lazio and Fiorentina into fifth and out of the three qualification positions for next season's European Champions League.

Scourge

Match-fixing has long been the scourge of Italian football.

Juventus coach Antonio Conte recently returned from a 10-match touchline ban imposed for failing to report match-fixing while coach at Siena.

In 2006, Juve were stripped of two league titles and relegated to the third division of Italian football -- before later being reinstated in the second tier -- for their part in the "Calciopoli" scandal.

Juve, AC Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio were all implicated in a wide-ranging police investigation which discovered a network of phone calls between club officials and refereeing organizations.

In 1980, Italy striker Paolo Rossi was out of the sport for two years following his involvement in a match-fixing scandal. He has always maintained his innocence.

Rossi later returned to help Italy clinch glory at the 1982 FIFA World Cup, finishing as top goalscorer at the tournament in Spain.

UEFA punishment

It is not the first time that Napoli have been punished this season.

In October the club were fined $198,000 for "inappropriate conduct by fans, insufficient stadium organisation and non-respect of UEFA directives" regarding a Europa League match against Swedish club AIK in September.

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