De Laurentiis slams Cannavaro and Grava suspensions

The Partenopei president believes the bans imposed on his players were unfair and have affected his side's chances of picking up silverware this season
Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis has hit out at the suspensions issued to Paolo Cannavaro and Gianluca Grava for their part in the Scommessopoli scandal.

The duo were banned for six months for failing to report attempted match fixing, while the club was docked two points as part of the punishment.

De Laurentiis believes the sanctions were unjust, particularly given the time that has elapsed since the alleged incident, and pointed to his side's Coppa Italia defeat to Bologna as proof that his players have been affected mentally by the issue.

"They [the FIGC] took Paolo Cannavaro and Gianluca Grava from us," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "It seems unfair that we should be punished for something that did not happen.

"Even if anything did happen, it would have been as far back as three seasons ago.

"These are players who were symbols of our dressing room, and, of course, all of this [controversy] has affected the team psychologically in the Coppa Italia."

De Laurentiis assured that he was planning to invest in the squad during the January transfer window to compensate for their losses, but added that the majority of spending would take place over the summer.

"There will be investment in the next month, there will be great investments in the summer," he said. "We are in the market to make decisive repairs to the squad, and we will be even more determined in June.

"I spend large sums only for the strikers; for the other roles we want the right investments. I do not think that paying €9 million for [Blerim] Dzemaili and €16 million for [Gokhan] Inler has been trivial.

"In the summer I proceeded to renew the contract of [Edinson] Cavani, offering a substantial figure for scoring 40 goals in a year."

"We need to look further ahead in the future. Take Barcelona a few years ago: they decided to focus on young people. At first they had some problems, but today they are the strongest team in the world.

"Here, you have to decide if you want the experience, which guarantees greater continuity, or work for the future by investing in young people."