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Italy in a fix, yet again

Rome: Serie A title contenders Napoli were docked two points on Tuesday in Italy’s latest match-fixing shame as three players were banned for between six months and three years over bets placed on a match with Sampdoria in 2010.

Paolo Cannavaro, brother of Italy great Fabio, and fellow Napoli defender Gianluca Grava received six-month bans while former goalkeeper Matteo Gianello was banned for three years and three months, an Italian Football Federation statement said.

Napoli, who now drop to fifth from third place in Serie A to lie 10 points behind leaders Juventus, were also fined $92,100.The Naples club said they would appeal against the decision and criticised the federation.

“Napoli do not agree with the decision of the disciplinary commission, believing that one cannot change the standings during a season. Any decision must be taken before or after a competition takes place,” a statement said, adding that no offence had been committed by the club itself.

The case is the latest in a string of match-fixing and betting scandals which have tainted Italian football and led to a number of players arrested. Champions Juventus, demoted in a 2006 match-fixing scandal involving referees, recently welcomed back coach Antonio Conte from a four-month ban for failing to inform authorities of match-fixing at previous club Siena. (Reuters)