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Soccer - Serie B in more chaos after order to stage relegation playoff

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MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s Serie B, already cut to an unwieldy 19 teams and with Palermo ordered to the bottom of the table over financial problems, faced more problems on Thursday after its decision to abandon this season’s relegation playoff was overturned.

Palermo, relegated from Serie A last year, finished third despite changing hands three times this season, only to be sent to the bottom this month because of financial and administrative irregularities.

As a result, Foggia moved up from 17th, a direct relegation place, to 16th, which under the original rules would have put them into a two-leg playoff with the team in 15th, Salernitana. But the league then ruled that the playoff would not take place and Foggia would still go straight down.

Foggia, themselves deducted six points over administrative problems, appealed to a regional court (TAR) and won their case on Thursday, forcing the league to set a meeting for June 11 to take the next step — leaving Salernitana in limbo.

The Serie B season began in chaos when Bari and Cesena were declared bankrupt and Avellino refused a licence.

The league decided to press on with 19 teams but this was challenged by six Serie C teams who wanted a chance to fill the three vacant spots.

The matter was finally settled by an Italian Olympic Committee arbitration panel which agreed on 19 teams — one month after the league had started.

(Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond)

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