Napoli’s hope of catching Serie A leaders Juventus have been dealt a blow with the news that the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) have docked them two points after defenders Paolo Cannavaro and Gianluca Grava were handed six-month bans for failing to report match-fixing.
Former Azzurri goalkeeper Matteo Gianello has been banned for 39 months for admitting an attempt to fix Napoli’s top-flight meeting with Sampdoria in 2010, with Cannavaro and Grava punished for failing to report their knowledge of Gianello’s actions and Napoli penalised as the players’ employer.
An FIGC statement published read:
“Two penalty points for Napoli and a 70,000 euro fine. A ban of three years and three months for Matteo Gianello, and bans of six months for Paolo Cannavaro and Gianluca Grava.”
Now there are another two stages of the appeals process that Napoli and the players can go through before the sentence actually comes into effect. But one unanswered question from Tuesday’s decision is what impact it has in Napoili’s European ambitions?
According to Uefa, in order to qualify for the Champions League or Europa League, a club
“must not have been directly and/or indirectly involved, since the entry into force of Article 50(3) of the UEFA Statutes, i.e. 27 April 2007, in any activity aimed at arranging or influencing the outcome of a match at national or international level.”
Gianello made it clear that Napoli were unaware of his attempted fix of a 2010 game against Sampdoria, but because of the ‘indirect’ responsibility that Napoli have to monitor their players they were docked the two points.
Napoli are in the draw on Thursday for the next stage of the Europa League. Will today’s decision by the FIGC result in Uefa disqualifying them from this season’s competition?