The start of Italy’s soccer season may be delayed for the fourth consecutive year because of financial problems and fallout from a game-fixing scandal.

A judge has decreed that the fixtures for the 20005-06 season cannot be published until all appeals have been heard relating to Genoa’s demotion from the top division to the third division. Thursday’s meeting to publish the new fixture list was delayed indefinitely.

Genoa, promoted to Serie A after a 10-year absence, were found guilty of fixing their final game last season. On Tuesday, the country’s highest soccer tribunal confirmed the decision to drop Genoa to the third division and dock the team three points for next season.

A series of financial issues also need to be resolved before the season can start. Teams must meet certain financial standards to play in Serie A.

What concerns the authorities is that a delay could have an impact on Italy’s preparations for next year’s World Cup finals.

“A delay is impossible because it would constitute a violation of the rules,” soccer federation president Franco Carraro said.

“It would also disregard fans throughout all of Italy, disrupt the teams, cause serious financial problems for clubs and cause serious repercussions for clubs involved in international play and for the national team.”