Napoli and Roma appeals against default defeats rejected

Napoli's head coach Gennaro Gattuso shakes hands with Napoli's Fabian Ruiz. (Joan Monfort/AP)

ROME -- Napoli and Roma saw their appeals against default losses rejected Tuesday by an Italian soccer federation court.

Napoli was issued a 3-0 loss and one-point penalty for not showing up for its Serie A match at Juventus on Oct. 4 because of coronavirus cases.

The FIGC court of appeal upheld the league's ruling that Napoli did not have a valid reason for missing the fixture and should have followed the existing COVID-19 protocol, which was accepted by all clubs before the season began.

The Italian league's protocol for coronavirus cases is the same as UEFA rules. If a team has 13 available players, including at least one goalkeeper, the game can go ahead.

The court said that Napoli's behaviour in the days leading up to the match was ``effectively creating an alibi for themselves not to play.''

The court concluded that Napoli's ``conduct in the days leading up to the match was already aimed towards not playing, with a clear violation of the fundamental principles on which the sporting system is based, namely integrity, decency and probity.''

The FIGC court also ruled that Roma's appeal was ``unfounded.''

The match against Hellas Verona -- the league opener for both teams -- ended in a 0-0 draw on Sept. 19 but Roma was issued a 3-0 loss by Serie A's disciplinary judge three days later for using an ineligible player.

Midfielder Amadou Diawara started the match but was not listed on Roma's 25-man team list. Diawara, who turned 23 in July, was no longer eligible for Roma's under-22 team like last season.

Napoli and Roma are currently third and fourth, respectively, three points behind Serie A leader AC Milan.

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