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Juventus will be winner again in two years - CEO

Written by: Staff

MILAN, June 29 (Reuters) Juventus aim to get back on track as quickly as possible should they be relegated from Italy's Serie A as a result of a match-fixing trial starting this week, the club's CEO Carlo Sant'Albano told La Repubblica newspaper.

''We have worked to get things back to normal and prepare a team that in two years will return to being a winning squad,'' Sant'Albano said in an interview published in the newspaper's today.

Italy's biggest-ever sports trial opens on Thursday, and Juventus, along with three other Serie A teams and 26 individuals, face charges of match-fixing which could force them out of the top league and European competition.

Of the four clubs, Serie A champions Juventus are believed to run the greatest risk of relegation.

Sant'Albano's comments appeared to indicate that Juventus, who have neither denied nor admitted wrongdoing in the scandal, were bracing for the possibility of having to play a season outside of Serie A before returning to the top flight.

Sant'Albano, who took the reins at the club after the previous board resigned when the scandal broke in May, is likely to hand over leadership as shareholders vote on a new board today.

Jean-Claude Blanc, director of the French Open tennis championships, is a front-runner for the CEO position.

Sant'Albano said the club had until mid-July to sort out which players would stay and whether any would leave if it were relegated.

''There are no automatic release clauses and this means that if we were to drop down to B, anyone who wants to make a different choice must explain it to us and we will evaluate it,'' he said.

Skipper Fabio Cannavaro, who also captains the national squad, has said he would stay with Juventus even if they were relegated.

Coach Fabio Capello has said that his contract was linked to Juventus staying in Serie A, Sant'Albano said, adding Juventus had contacted other managers while making clear that they would like to stick with Capello.

Last week, former France captain Didier Deschamps said he had been asked to coach Juventus if the club were relegated.

Reuters PM DB1252

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