Three players banned in Italian fixing probe

Serie A title chasers 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 70,000 euros.

The Naples club said they would appeal and criticised the soccer 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 soccer and led to a number of players arrested.

The 1-0 win for Sampdoria on the last day of the season in 2010 enabled them to reach the Champions League qualifying rounds. The federation’s disciplinary commission also imposed a fresh raft of points deductions, bans and fines for lower-league teams and players caught up in the widespread betting scandal.

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