Friday, 30 March 2007

Fiorentina fury at Calciopoli verdict

Fiorentina President Andrea Della Valle has threatened to quit after the latest Calciopoli verdict suggested the club did not deserve such harsh punishment.

"With that sentence they took away 45 points, the Champions League spot we had earned last term and perhaps cost us the same goal this year, while we lost £15m," slammed the patron.

"I have to ask – who will recompense us for all of this? Someone has got to give us some answers. However, we do not intend to seek official compensation. I just want to express the anger of this club, the city and its fans."

The side was originally demoted to Serie B in the summer, but a series of appeals saw them return to the top flight with a 15-point penalty – more than any of the other teams except for Juventus.

However, the details of the CONI Conciliation led by Marcello De Luca Tamajo were released today and suggested the evidence against the Viola was not so very damning.

Diego Della Valle saw his original ban of three years and nine months reduced to expire on March 31, while his brother Andrea (three years) and director Sandro Mencucci (18 months) can return at the end of the season.

The paperwork from the CONI states that the three Viola directors "moved to protect Fiorentina within the rules, therefore without taking any advantages nor suffering consequences."

It also explains "they did this in reaction to alleged refereeing mistakes against them. They turned to the Federal Vice-President, someone who for his role within the institution could not help but represent a guarantee of fairness and legality."

The main reason to punish Fiorentina appears to be the fact that Andrea Della Valle and Mencucci spoke directly to refereeing designator Paolo Bergamo.

This is illegal and not allowed within the rules. However, it should also be pointed out that throughout the Calciopoli trial and beyond, Bergamo confirmed almost all the club Presidents spoke to him directly.

"I will be honest, I thought about leaving the Presidency and I still have to evaluate fully what I will do next," added Della Valle in his Press conference.

"It took a long time – over 10 months – to get some precise sentences and nobody found any match-fixing from Fiorentina. We lost 45 points and £15m, which would have allowed an ambitious club like ours to take that step up in quality.

"Not going into the Champions League for two years running is an incredible dent to the side and our long-term project. We will continue anyway, for the fans, the lads and the Coach. We must stay close to the team at this time."

Despite the 15-point penalty – which was originally 19 – Fiorentina have clawed their way back to within 10 points of fourth place.

"At the start of the season everyone thought we were dead ducks, but now look where we are."

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