Murky waters of Italian football get murkier

Scandal replaces scandal in the world of Italian football as another FIFA official is banned from the sport.

    Atalanta captain Cristiano Doni was banned for three-and-a-half years after his role in match-fixing  [GALLO/GETTY]

    Serie A matches are among 150 sports events under investigation after eight people were held following an investigation by Naples police into links between illegal betting and the mafia, Italian prosecutors said on Friday.

    Investigators in Naples said most of the games under scrutiny were from Italy's lower leagues but there were also several from Serie A.

    "There has been an exchange of information with the FIGC (Italian Football Federation) over the games under suspicion," assistant prosecutor Rosario Cantelmo told Italy's Sky Sports 24.

    "We have already contacted directors from the clubs involved for an explanation. At this moment we are not naming the clubs."

    "We have already contacted directors from the clubs involved for an explanation. At this moment we are not naming the clubs"

    Assistant prosecutor Rosario Cantelmo

    In June, Italy's Interior Ministry set up a match-fixing task force to explore ways of combating illegal betting in soccer after a criminal investigation which initially centred on 18 games in Serie B and Italy's lower divisions.

    Police said they had found evidence of an organised system among former and current footballers, sports betting operators and others to manipulate the results of a number of matches.

    Promoted Atalanta, one of the clubs investigated, were docked six points by the FIGC before the start of the Serie A season and club captain Cristiano Doni was suspended from football for three-and-a-half years.

    In the Calciopoli scandal of 2006, which involved influencing the selection of referees, Juventus were demoted and stripped of the 2005 and 2006 Serie A titles, while AC Milan, Lazio, Fiorentina and Reggina were given points deductions.

    The criminal trial into that affair is reaching its final stages in Naples, where prosecutors have requested a prison sentence of five years and eight months for former Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi.

    More FIFA scandal

    It is hardly surprising how commonplace football scandals are at a time when FIFA is struggling to control its own officials and reputation.    

    The organisation has banned Caribbean soccer official Colin Klass for two years and two months for his part in a bribery scandal involving former presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam.

    FIFA says its ethics committee found Klass guilty of breaching confidentiality and not disclosing "evidence of violations of conduct."

    Klass loses his seat on FIFA's beach soccer committee and the presidency of Guyana's soccer federation. He was fined $5,500 and can appeal.

    FIFA is investigating another 15 Caribbean officials it suspects were offered or accepted $40,000 cash payments to back bin Hammam's challenge to FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

    Those cases likely will be heard next month.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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