Lazio say match-fixing probe won't imperil Champions League berth

Serie A club Lazio have dismissed claims by the general secretary of an investigation into match-fixing in the Italian game that they could be deprived of a place in Europe next season.

Francesco Baranca, of Federbet, presented his report into match-fixing to the European Union parliament, avoiding the usual sporting justice channels, which have already charged Lazio captain Stefano Mauri, among others, for misconduct.

Should the EU parliament decide to take action, Lazio could see the Champions League berth they earned this season taken away from them, according to Baranca.

"They risk being excluded from Europe," he told Il Corriere dello Sport. "If a process is reopened, then there is a risk that Lazio would have to answer to their objective responsibility.

"According to UEFA rules, that would lead to them being penalised and automatically excluded from their cup competitions."

Lazio have condemned Baranca's remarks in relation to the Lazio-Genoa fixture from May 14, 2011, which was one of those mentioned in a previous investigation. Mauri was banned for six months after being found guilty of failing to report an attempt to fix that fixture.

"Mr Baranca's opinions on the consequences which Lazio could face are merely his own subjective thoughts, lacking any sort of support, and they are purely a personal expression without any reference to elements which could contradict the investigations already carried out in previous years," said a statement on the Serie A club's website.

"Lazio have just concluded a successful season and are preparing as a consequence for more success in Europe. Remarks like those of Mr Baranca are just disturbances to the club, the players and the fans and anybody who amplifies these remarks as if they are truthful are taking part in what is a defamatory activity, aimed only at wanting to harm Lazio."

Lazio were docked points in 2006 as part of a previous match manipulation scandal. They are set to return to the Champions League for the first time in eight years next season when they take part in the playoff at the end of August, assuming Federbet's report does not lead to sanctions.