Match fixing makes an unwelcome return to the Italian game

Calciopoli, Italy’s biggest footballing scandal decimated the peninsula’s game only five years ago. As Serie A still struggles to reinstate itself as one of Europe’s elite leagues, a new scandal has emerged involving match fixing.
This new controversy involves alleged match fixing and betting rings and is said to incorporate players both past and present. Police have claimed that these players, ex players and sports-betting operators have conspired to manipulate the outcome of matches and in turn win hundreds of thousands of euros in the process.
The Italian Football Federation has agreed to work with the authorities and launch a thorough investigation which in which they will dissect the goings on around 17 specific matches that have allegedly been thrown. The suspicions of Police were alerted six month again several players in a game between Paganese and Cremonese fell ill before the game. The rest of the matches that are being looked into are all from Serie B and below, with only one being targeted in Serie A.
The official statement from the Italian football federation’s general director Antonello Valentini read: “The federation will cooperate with the investigation and will defend the interests of the football image as well as correctness and transparency of the football bodies. We trust the work that is being done by the authorities and we give our maximum cooperation but at the same time we request caution and prudence considering the delicate procedures as we await more information.”
One major shock to Italian Football fans was the suspected involvement of former Lazio forward and Captain Giuseppe Signori. Signori who also played with the Italian national team scored 107 goals in 152 games for the Biancocelesti. The only statement the player managed to give to reporters read: “Have some mercy. I can’t say anything. I will meet my lawyer and then he’ll speak for me.”
The second player to be embroiled in this tragic sequence off events is Atalanta Captain Cristiano Doni. He has helped his team gain promotion back to Serie A this term and is furious at allegations of his involvement. Speaking to La Repubblica he said: “They want to make me as the scapegoat in this story, I don’t accept this. They are making me feel like a monster. They are damaging me. My name and that of Atalanta stand out from the rest for the media. It is a bigger story. The other players that have been arrested or are under investigation are either former players or are smaller fish to fry.” Doni’s club Atalanta are also under investigation.
It is believed that Police has evidence of the betting ring after intercepting information whilst monitoring over 50,000 phone calls. Whilst the perpetrators thought they could speak freely on the phones they had been secretly tapped. This is a similar method that was used by the Police in 2005-06. It is only hoped that as this scandal unfolds the severity of the matter not similar to those dark days of Calciopoli.

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