Friday, July 14, 2006

That was no slap on the wrist.

The ruling came down for the match fixing scandal that was supposed to make Italy off focus in the World Cup.

Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina were demoted to Serie B. AC Milan was spared that punishment, but they are barred from European competition next season and are already 15 points off the pace in Serie A, having been penalized the 15 points.

Juventus came away the biggest loser. They were demoted; stripped of their last two Serie A titles; and given a 30 point penalty for next season. All clubs have 5 days to appeal these rulings.

So what does this mean?

If these rulings stand, it means a lot for European Soccer. The transfer market will become one of the most active in a long time and the Champions League will either take a hit, or will be one of the most exciting in recent memory.

Fire Sale
Gianluigi Buffon
Patrick Vieira
Cristiano Zanetti
Zlatan Ibrahimović
Pavel Nedvěd
David Trezeguet
Fabio Cannavaro
Gianluca Zambrotta
Mauro Camoranesi
Lilian Thuram
Luca Toni

All of these guys will potentially be up for sale. Del Peiro has stated that he would stay regardless of the club being demoted, so I figure that he will stick with that decision. How bad would a club like Lyon, a side that has dominated French Football for the last five years, only to miss out on Champions League glory, want to get someone like Nedved or Thuram? What about Manchester United trying to bring in Buffon or Zambrotta? Arsenal would have a heart attack if Vieira were lining up against them wearing a Man U jersey. Then again, I think Roy Keane's head would explode as well.

Champions League
The UEFA Champions League will be a different beast this season, assuming that these rulings stand. Without AC Milan or Juventus to carry the banner for Italy, as they always have, we will definitelytely see more clubs getting through to the knock-out phases. Or will we see a drop off in play? The AC Milan vs. Lyon 2nd leg match last season was a great match, with one helluva exciting ending. Who can forget the Juventus vs. Real Madrid series that they had a couple of seasons ago? Milan have been in 2 of the last 4 finals, so there will definately be a loss. Who will step in and fill the gap?


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