The Lazio captain Stefano Mauri will try to clear his name through the appeal courts after being handed a six-month ban for alleged involvement in match-fixing.
The punishment was yesterday handed down by the disciplinary commission of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) after the organisation's prosecutor had initially recommended a 54-month sanction for the player's alleged failure to report his knowledge of match-fixing.
The accusations related to Lazio's league games against Genoa and Lecce in May 2011, but five men, including Mauri, were yesterday cleared of wrongdoing in relation to the Genoa fixture.
Stefano Palazzi, the prosecutor, also requested a six-point deduction for the Rome club, but that was dismissed in favour of a €40,000 (Dh194.5m) fine. Lecce were fined €20,000; Genoa were cleared.
The new Serie A season starts August 24 and Mauri is determined to appeal his ban and return to action for Lazio "as soon as possible".
He told his official website, www.smauri.it: "I'm happy that Lazio don't have to start with a points deduction, but this punishment for failing to report seems like an injustice to me.
"I will put my trust in the next steps of the justice system to put this ugly experience behind me.
"Even in this situation I will fight like a captain … my plan is to be back on the pitch with my teammates as soon as possible.
"Thanks to all the fans who, every day, have shown me their affection and encourage me in an incredible way."
Mauri, 33, played as Lazio beat Genoa 4-2 in Rome on May 14, 2011, and eight days later the midfielder featured in a victory by the same score at Lecce.
The three clubs were subject to disciplinary action for their objective liability in the alleged actions of eight players: Mauri, Massimiliano Benassi, Mario Cassano, Stefano Ferrario, Carlo Gervasoni, Omar Milanetto, Antonio Rosati and Alessandro Zamperini.
Zamperini, who was already serving a five-year ban, was yesterday banned for a further two years but cleared in connection to the Genoa game, together with Benassi, Milanetto and Rosati, but Ferrario was banned for six months and Cassano four months.
Mauri's lawyer Amilcare Buceti told Gazzetta dello Sport: "We have witnessed a decision which still leaves us feeling bitter because the penalty was imposed due to circumstantial evidence. It is not supported by any objective source of evidence.
"It remains an incomprehensible error of judgement from the disciplinary commission since there is no evidence in the slightest of Stefano Mauri's connection to the allegations."
The news follows last month's issuing of a 43-month ban to the Torino goalkeeper Jean-Francois Gillet for his alleged involvement in match-fixing at his former club, Bari. The Belgian failed to have his FIGC sentence reduced on appeal.
Bari submitted a plea bargain to receive a fine and a one-point penalty for the forthcoming Serie B season.
The Serie A clubs Sampdoria, Atalanta, Torino and Siena all started the 2012/13 season with points deductions for their alleged involvement in match-fixing, and the Juventus coach Antonio Conte served a four-month ban for allegedly failing to report knowledge of fixing during his time at Siena.
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