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Napoli wins match-fixing appeal

updated 5:21 PM EST, Thu January 17, 2013
Napoli captain Paolo Cannavaro has had his six-month ban overturned following the announcement.
Napoli captain Paolo Cannavaro has had his six-month ban overturned following the announcement.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Napoli has won it's appeal against the two point deduction for match-fixing
  • Players Paolo Cannavaro and Gianluca Grava both have six-month bans overturned
  • Former goalkeeper Matteo Gianello admitted he attempted to fix the club's game with Sampdoria in 2010.
  • Club must pay $67,000 following decision of the court

(CNN) -- Napoli has had a two-point deduction for match-fixing overturned following a successful appeal.

The Serie A club was hit with the punishment following former goalkeeper Matteo Gianello's admission that he attempted to fix the club's game with Sampdoria in 2010.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) judged that Napoli were "objectively responsible" for Gianello's actions.

Napoli hit with match-fixing related points deduction

The FIGC also handed out six-month bans to defenders Paolo Cannavaro and Gianluca Grava for failing to report the approach, although both have had their suspensions lifted following the ruling.

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Napoli will now pay a $67,000 fine, while Gianello has had his ban reduced from 39 months to 21.

The restoration of those two points also means Napoli are now joint second alongside Lazio in Serie A and just three points behind leaders Juventus.

A statement from the FIGC Thursday said: "The two-point penalty deduction has been annulled and Paolo Cannavaro and Gianluca Grava have been acquitted.

"Napoli will now pay a fine of 50,000 euros.

"There are acquittals for Paolo Cannavaro and Gianluca Grava, while the disqualification of Matteo Gianello has been reduced from three years and three months to one year and nine months.

"These are the decisions of the Federal Court of Justice following appeals against the judgments made by the Naples branch of the disciplinary committee on match-fixing."

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The news came as a welcome relief for defender Cannavaro, who said he head been through "hell" since the original verdict was announced on December 18.

He told the club's official website: "It's an immense feeling of joy and I'm still crying with the emotion. It was a terrible month, hell. Now this is a release.

"I was in a really bad way. I won't be able to forget what I went through this month. I thank all those who were close to me.

"I want to thank the club for all that they did, the coach and my team-mates that have consoled me every day."

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Grava was also in an emotional state at a press conference following the announcement.

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"When I heard from Paolo, we both started to cry with joy. It's the end of a nightmare," the 35-year-old said.

"It seemed like a nightmare from which I could not wake up. I'm feeling great joy and I am happy that justice has been done."

Head coach Walter Mazzarri felt the club had been vindicated for their stance and heaped praise on the duo.

He said: "First of all I am very happy for Paolo and Gianluca, two exceptionally honourable lads who were victims of a great injustice.

"I'm happy with the league table. We deserved those points because we earned them on the field. It would have been another great injustice if they had been stolen."

Juventus coach Conte has ban reduced to four months

The intense fight against match-fixing and illegal betting, which is known as 'Calcioscommesse', saw Siena deducted six points before the start of the season.

Former Siena coach Antonio Conte, now in charge of Juventus, was handed a six-month ban for his failure to report attempts to fix matches in Serie B during the 2010-11 season. The ban was subsequently reduced to four months on appeal.

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