Napoli on trial for match-fixing

Serie A club faces penalties after former goalkeeper pleads guilty to match-fixing and skipper Cannavaro faces charges.

    Napoli on trial for match-fixing
    Former goalkeeper Matteo Gianello confessed to attempting to fix a 2010 Serie A clash against Sampdoria [EPA]

    Napoli was on trial for match-fixing on Monday and could be inflicted with a two-point penalty after its former goalkeeper confessed to arranging the result of a game three seasons ago.

    The keeper, Matteo Gianello, sought a 16-month plea bargain sentence after telling prosecutors that he attempted to fix the May 16, 2010, match between Sampdoria and Napoli.

    Sampdoria won the match 1-0 with a goal from current AC Milan player Giampaolo Pazzini in the 51st minute. It was the final round of the season and the victory secured Sampdoria fourth place and a spot in European Champions League qualifying.

    Current Napoli captain Paolo Cannavaro and defender Gianluca Grava were also on trial in front of the Italian football federation's disciplinary committee for allegedly failing to report the fix.

    Both players, along with Napoli, deny any wrongdoing.

    Cannavaro is the younger brother of former Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro.

    'Collaborative behaviour'

    Federation prosecutor Stefano Palazzi acknowledged Gianello's "collaborative'' behaviour and recommended the reduced 16-month sentence.

    Several others were also on trial for alleged fixing in the lower-division Portogruaro-Crotone match in May 2011.

    Napoli are third in Serie A, five points behind leader Juventus.

    Four Serie A clubs were already docked points this season for fixing. Siena were penalised six points, Atalanta two, and Sampdoria and Torino one each.

    Juventus coach Antonio Conte returned Sunday from his four-month ban for failing to report fixing when he managed Siena two seasons ago.

    The federation's justice system provides two levels of sentences: The disciplinary committee's initial verdict and an appeal. Sentences can then be appealed to a national sports arbitration court, which has the final word.

    At least 50 people have been arrested in Italy for match-fixing since the middle of last year, with scores more under investigation by prosecutors in Cremona, Bari and Naples.

    SOURCE: AP


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