Italian Olympic official appointed new head of Italian soccer

Senior Italian Olympic official Luca Pancalli was appointed Thursday as commissioner of the national soccer federation.

The 42-year-old Pancalli, a vice president of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), replaces Guido Rossi in the role of overseeing the cleanup of Italian soccer following the match-fixing scandal that rocked the sport.

Rossi resigned last week to become chairman of telecommunications giant Telecom Italia.

Pancalli, who was appointed to the soccer post by CONI, will serve as commissioner until Feb. 28, when new officials will be elected.

Former Italy forward Gigi Riva, who is currently serving as an assistant with the national team, was named as vice commissioner responsible for the national teams, reports AP.

"Soccer isn't sick," Pancalli said Thursday. "We all have to work together to rebuild a season that is sunny rather than more gloomy, to give new life to hope."

The scandal broke in May with allegations of match-fixing, illegal betting and manipulation of referee assignments.

Rossi, a former senator, had led the Italian Soccer Federation (FIGC) since then.

A sports tribunal in July relegated Juventus to the second division and forced four clubs to begin the Serie A season with point penalties for their roles in the scandal.

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