Napoli wins appeal against forfeit loss to Juve


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Napoli took its case to the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), the highest level of sporting justice in Italy, after having appeals rejected by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and Serie A.

A CONI statement reported that it "accepted the appeal presented by Napoli and annulled without postponement the decision of the Sports Court of Appeal at the FIGC ... including the penalty of losing the match and the deduction of one point".

The 5 October (AEDT) fixture had been abandoned rather than called off when Napoli did not travel to Turin.

"We're happy," Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis said on Twitter of the decision. 

"We live in a country where those who respect the laws cannot be convicted. And Napoli always follows the rules."

The restoration of a point moves Napoli up to third in the standings ahead of Juventus, which has lost three points, on goal difference.

The decision to annul the result means both clubs have a game in hand on the teams above them. They are both seven points behind leader AC Milan. 

Juventus was informed of the decision before Wednesday's (AEDT) league game against Fiorentina in Turin.

"The first comment is that we have always been outsiders in the affair  and indifferent to it," Juventus chief football officer Fabio Paratici. said.

"When they tell us to play we'll go play. That said, we were also there on 4 October [5 October AEDT]."

Italian media report that the match at Juve's Allianz Stadium will be rescheduled for 14 January (AEDT).

The original match in October was to be played just days after Napoli had faced Genoa, which subsequently recorded more than a dozen COVID cases in its squad.

Napoli argued that it was ordered not to travel by the local health authority after two players, Piotr Zielinski and Eljif Elmas, tested positive for COVID-19.

The club requested a postponement, but Juventus continued to prepare as normal. The game was officially abandoned 45 minutes after its scheduled kick off time.

The Serie A disciplinary commission ruled there had been no force majeure preventing Napoli from travelling despite the positive cases and the team being in isolation.

Italy's top flight applied UEFA rules that say a match can take place as long as a side has 13 healthy players, including a goalkeeper.

The only possible exemption would be a club which has an active outbreak of COVID-19 with more than 10 new positive cases in a week.

In that case, the club can request a postponement, but only once in the season, which was the case of Genoa's game against Torino the same weekend.