Soccer-Lazio owner Lotito’s ban reduced to two months after appeal

FILE PHOTO-Soccer Football - Serie A - Serie A hold an emergency meeting on coronavirus - Coni Palace, Rome, Italy - March 4, 2020 Lazio president Claudio Lotito outside Coni Palace before the meeting REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

ROME (Reuters) - Lazio president Claudio Lotito's ban for COVID-19 protocol violations was reduced to two months by the federal appeal court on Tuesday.

The Serie A club's owner was appealing against a 12-month ban handed to him by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) appeal court in April.

A FIGC statement said that the latest hearing resulted in a two-month ban for Lotito, five-month bans for Lazio doctors Ivo Pulcini and Fabio Rodia, and a 50,000 euro ($58,230) fine for the club.

The punishment comes after a FIGC investigation opened in November 2020 over potential violations of protocols regarding COVID-19 testing.

The FIGC charged Lazio with violations including failing to promptly report positive cases to local health authorities, failing to stop three players from attending a training session after receiving positive tests, and twice failing to enforce a mandatory 10-day isolation period on an asymptomatic player, who subsequently featured in a Serie A match.

Lazio denied wrongdoing and said "we trust in sporting justice", beginning a protracted series of hearings.

Lotito was originally banned for seven months by a national federal court in March, but the punishment was increased to 12 months in April.

($1 = 0.8587 euros)

(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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