MAJOR SWOOP ON ITALIAN FOOTBALL FIXING
02nd June, 2011 at 04:47:03
16 arrests include several league football players
The Italian media is reporting the arrest of sixteen people, including former Serie A, Serie B and Lega Pro footballers, others still playing and managers of Lega Pro clubs, in a major police swoop aimed at eliminating corruption from football by attacking rigged betting groups.
Police spokesman told local media that the Cremona flying squad, in collaboration with the central operational service (SCO) conducted the raids, which included suspects homes, several betting shops and a firm of accountants.
Investigators alleged that those arrested may have 'fixed' a number of matches in the Serie B and Lega Pro championships in recent months, and magistrates in Cremona issued seven orders for pre-trial detention in prison and nine for house arrest. Initial investigations indicate that several hundred thousand Euros could be involved in the scam.
All those involved face charges of fraud or sports fraud-related criminal association. Investigators believe that the organisationâEURâ„˘s bets on each match were worth several hundred thousand euros.
Besides football players and officials, it is understood that betting shop owners are involved, and that a further 28 people are currently under investigation but have not yet been detained.
The arrests quickly spread from Cremona to a wide range of Italian towns and cities, including Bari, Como, Bologna, Rimini, Pescara, Ancona, Ascoli, Ravenna, Benevento, Rome, Turin, Naples and Ferrara.
Making the headlines were reports that former Lazio captain and Italy striker Beppe Signori, is under house arrest following the police actions. Ascoli defender Vittorio Micolucci and midfielder Vincenzo Sommesse are also confined to their homes, whilst Gianfranco Parlato, a former Serie B and Serie C footballer currently working for Viareggio has been jailed.
The police have revealed that the actions this week were preceded by over six months of investigations.
Sergio Lo Presti, head of the Cremona flying squad, detailed what appears to be the trigger for the investigations - an incident in which he said six Cremonese players suffered food poisoning after drinking beverages in November 2010. The police believe that the food poisoning was a deliberate attempt to rig the result of the match which was about to be played.
Related News Tags: Crime, Italy