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Juventus back in Serie A

19 May 2007 18:36

AREZZO, Italy (AFP) - Juventus reclaimed their place in Serie A after one season in the second division following their 5-1 win at Arezzo on Saturday.

The famous Turin club were demoted to Serie B last summer for their part in the Italian match-fixing scandal.

Alessandro Del Piero and Giorgio Chiellini both scored twice for the visitors, while French striker David Trezeguet grabbed the other goal.

Juve coach Didier Deschamps was delighted to see the club, who have won 27 Serie A titles and two European Cups - back in Italy's top division.

"I am really pleased for the players and I am proud to have taken Juve back where they belong," he said.

"This promotion cannot be compared with some of the club's other achievements in the past, but it will be part of our history and it's right to celebrate it."

Despite media reports that Deschamps may not be coach next season due to an alleged fall-out with some board members, Juve's general manager Jean-Claude Blanc insisted the former France international would stay.

"Today is a day of joy and a new journey starts and it continues with Deschamps," he said. "I've always said it.

"There are no disagreements. Deschamps stays with us."

The scandal, known as 'Calciopoli', involved five Serie A clubs, referees and high-ranked Italian football federation (FIGC) officials.

As the club at the centre of the furore, Juventus received the severest punishment.

The club were stripped of the league titles they won in 2004-05 and 2005-06 and denied entry into the Champions League. They were also deducted nine points for their Serie B campaign.

Their demotion led to the departure of many of their star players, including French defender Lilian Thuram, wingback Gianluca Zambrotta, French midfielder Patrick Vieira, Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Italian World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro.

Coach Fabio Capello also jumped ship, returning to Spain for a second spell with Real Madrid.

However, Italy keeper Gianluigi Buffon, Trezeguet and Czech midfielder Pavel Nedved demonstrated their loyalty by sticking it out in a lower division, while former Juve midfielder Deschamps was hired to replace Capello.

Deschamps understood the need to add youth to experience and placed his trust in the feet of several youngsters, including striker Raffaele Palladino, midfielder Marco Marchionni and defender Federico Balzaretti.

The match-fixing scandal erupted last May when newspapers published transcripts of telephone conversations in which former Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi tells Pierluigi Pairetto, head of the Italian referees' association and member of UEFA's referees committee, which officials he wants assigned to certain league and European matches.

The conversations revealed that Moggi and fellow director Antonio Giraudo effectively controlled the pool of referees who ensured Juventus benefited from their decisions.

The referees would overlook fouls committed by Juve players and disallow perfectly good goals scored against his team.

Moggi also planned ahead, ordering referees to book or send off talented players of teams who would be facing Juventus the following week, so that they would be suspended for the Juve match.

Moggi was hit with a five-year ban from football, but it seems that the scandal is set to run and run.

Earlier this month former Juventus director Maurizio Capobianco claimed the club gave expensive gifts to referees and FIGC officials.

Capobianco, who worked for Juve from 1984 to 2005, made the allegations in an interview with an Italian newspaper and has been called up by the FIGC to explain his comments.

Juventus hit back saying Capobianco made his outburst because he is involved in a legal dispute with the club.

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Competition
Serie B
Date
19 May 2007
Kick-off
16:00
Full-time
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