Italian club Catania has been demoted from Serie B after being convicted of match fixing. The club will start the season with -12 points in Lega Pro.
The scandal was under investigation by the Italian football federation, and they ruled Thursday to demote the Sicilian from the Serie B down to third-tier Lega Pro. Former Catania club president Antonino Pulvirenti admitted to buying games in order to save the club from relegation according to goal.com.
Pulvirenti, 53, is the owner of dozens of supermarkets and was the CEO of Wind Jet, a now defunct Italian airline. Pulvirenti, along with six other were arrested in June for their alleged involvement in match fixing. Pulvirenti has been banned from soccer for five years and fined €300,000.
Catania finished 15th last season in the Serie B, two points off the relegation playoff spots and five points off automatic relegation. Catania went on a run of five straight wins in March and April over Avellino, Varese, Trapani, Latina, and Ternana. Those games, along with a draw against Livorno, were under investigation by the Italian football federation. The team played eight seasons in the Serie A before getting relegated after the 2013/2014 season.
The club has been handed a €150,000 fine, along with a 12-point deduction to start the season in Lega Pro. Two teams from the Lega Pro, Teramo and Savona have been demoted to Serie D for their part in the scandal. Italian soccer has been marred by scandals in the past, most notably the “calciopoli” scandal back in 2006 that ended with Juventus getting demoted to Serie B and stripped off two league titles.