Napoli’s 2-point penalty rescinded on appeal

Italy’s football federation has rescinded a two-point penalty

given to Napoli for match-fixing and lifted bans imposed on captain

Paolo Cannavaro and defender Gianluca Grava.

Following an appeal, the federation’s internal court decided on

Thursday to overturn the punishments handed out by its disciplinary

commission.

Napoli was penalized in December after its former goalkeeper,

Matteo Gianello, confessed to attempting to fix the result of a

game between Sampdoria and Napoli in May, 2010.

Cannavaro – the younger brother of former Italy captain Fabio

Cannavaro – and Grava were each banned for six months for failing

to report the fix.

”It’s an immense joy, I’m still crying from all the emotion,”

Cannavaro said. ”It’s been a terrible month, it’s been hell. Now

it’s freedom … I want to thank the club, for everything it did,

the coach and my teammates who comforted me every day.”

As a result of Thursday’s ruling, Napoli moved level in the

standings with second-place Lazio on 42 points, three behind leader

and defending champion Juventus.

”It was a sensational victory, a really important result,”

Napoli’s lawyer Mattia Grassani said. ”But most of all, justice

has been done and what was unjustly taken has been given back to

Napoli and its fantastic fans.

”It was a joy to tell (Napoli) President (Aurelio) De

Laurentiis as soon as I got the official news. In this way a really

sad story in which Napoli and its players paid a very heavy price

has ended in a fantastic way.”

The ruling boosts Napoli’s chances of winning the Serie A for

the first time since Diego Maradona led the team to titles in 1987

and 1990.

”I’m happy for our position,” coach Walter Mazzarri said. ”We

deserved those points on the pitch, it would have been another huge

injustice if they were taken away.”

Gianello’s ban has been reduced from three years and three

months to two years and nine months.

Napoli’s fine has also been reduced from ?70,000 ($93,570) to

?50,000 ($66,840) .

The match Gianello attempted to fix was won 1-0 by Sampdoria

with a goal from current AC Milan player Giampaolo Pazzini in the

51st minute. It was the final round of the season and the victory

secured Sampdoria fourth place and a spot in the Champions League

qualifiers.