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Both Lazio and Roma have been given less than a week to sort out their finances, or face a face exclusion from this season’s Serie A.

Cash-strapped Serie B sides, Fiorentina, Genoa, Messina, Napoli, Palermo and Hellas Verona have also been set the July 29 deadline.

Serie A finance authority Covisoc carried out the survey across all Serie A and Serie B teams. They then advised the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) of the eight clubs who were not meeting the “necessary financial requirements”.

League president Adriano Galliano said: “I am sorry for Lazio and Roma butthese are the rules. I hope they will find a solution in the forthcoming days.”

For Lazio, the only solution could be to sell one of their top two stars – Hernan Crespo or Alessandro Nesta. However, outspoken Lazio president, Sergio Cragnotti, is adamant that his club will play in Serie A. Despite rumours that two previous managers – Dino Zoff and Alberto Zaccheroni – are steill owed money, he believes that a lack of communication between the authorities and Covisoc is to blame.

“I have already talked with the FIGC and explained everything to them,” said Cragnotti.

“We have no problems ….. what has happened today is very serious, above all because Roma and Lazio are listed on the bourse (Milan stock exchange) and this way of doing things seriously risks undermining their shares.”

Roma’s problems on the other hand appear a little more clear-cut. Club chairman, Franco Sensi, is refusing to pay fines and cash guarantees, arguing that the club is being treated unfairly.

“I want to know why we are being asked to pay three times more than Inter or Milan,” said Sensi. “In the end we’ll pay, but first of all I want some explanations.”

Last weekend Sensi sold Serie B club Palermo – who are also under scrutiny from Covisoc – after the players were not paid wages for several months.

The Covisoc survey of Italian soccer’s finances showed that Serie Aclubs made a combined operating loss of 702m euros (œ447m) in the 2000-01 season.

The financial crisis has causeda lull in transfer activity and even the prompted unprecedented spectacle of players offering to take a cut in wages. Last week Inter stars, Ronaldo, Vieri and Recoba all pledged to take a 5-10% dropin their salary.

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