Cagliari’s hopes of avoiding the drop were decimated on Friday evening when the club was docked three points over unauthorised legal action.
In Italy all professional football figures cannot take legal action against another member without express permission from the FIGC.
Cagliari neglected to do this when they accused former player Gianluca Grassadonia of defamation in February 2007.
Grassadonia, now at Salernitana, gave an interview to the media in which he suggested the side had close ties with the more violent elements of the fanbase and had used these hooligans to help push him out of the club.
It has now been confirmed that Cagliari did not ask for the necessary permission to take this action, so they have been docked three points.
President Massimo Cellino has also been banned for a year and a total of £20,000 in fines must be paid.
It is a disaster for the Sardinian strugglers, who were already propping up the Serie A table with 18 points and now find themselves on 15 with just 14 games to go.
Source: C4 Football Italia