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SOCCER REPORT

Italy Coach Lippi Resigns

July 13, 2006|From the Associated Press

Coach Marcello Lippi resigned Wednesday, three days after guiding Italy to its fourth World Cup title.

Despite widespread calls for him to stay, Lippi suggested weeks ago that he would resign. He feels he and his son, Davide, were attacked personally in the corruption scandal that has tainted Italian soccer.

"At the end of an extraordinary professional and human experience, experienced as the head of an exceptional group of players ... I believe my role is over as the guide of the Italian national team," Lippi said in a statement.

While he is not under investigation, Lippi was questioned by prosecutors before the World Cup about alleged pressure he received to select certain players for Italy's national team. Davide Lippi is under investigation for his work at player agency GEA World.

"I will continue to coach," Lippi said without elaborating.

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Italy's World Cup victory makes it even more urgent to clean up soccer at home and punish the teams involved in a match-fixing scandal, Italian soccer federation chief Guido Rossi said, ruling out any amnesty.

Rossi also ruled out any reduced penalties for top Serie A clubs facing possible relegation to lower divisions.

"An amnesty would be absolutely the wrong way to go about re-establishing a clean sport, which the national team has proved can exist," Rossi told a parliamentary committee investigating the biggest soccer scandal in Italian history.

Prosecutors in the sports trial are seeking demotion for Juventus to Serie C -- the third division -- or lower; and for Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio to be relegated to Serie B.

Verdicts are expected this week.

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Juergen Klinsmann officially walked away from the German national team, carrying a backpack with two soccer balls for his children and leaving trusted assistant Joachim Loew in charge.

"I feel burned out," Klinsmann said at a news conference while fighting back tears. "I have a great wish to be back with my family and my children and to get back into normal life."

Klinsmann dismissed reports that he had been approached to take over the U.S. national team.

"There is absolutely no interest on my side and no contact," he said.

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FIFA lifted its suspension of the Greek soccer federation after the Greek parliament passed an amendment that made specific reference to the national soccer federation's independence.

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Brazil remained No. 1 in FIFA's redesigned world rankings, with World Cup champion Italy moving up to No. 2.

The U.S. dropped from fifth to 16th.

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Assistant coach Wim Rijsbergen agreed to become the head coach of Trinidad and Tobago, a day after his predecessor, Leo Beenhakker, accepted the Poland job.

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