Doni, 16 others arrested in Italy rigging case
CREMONA, Italy - The Associated Press
Former Atalanta captain Cristiano Doni and 16 other people have been arrested across Italy in an ongoing investigation into match-fixing and illegal betting on games. AP photoFormer Atalanta captain Cristiano Doni and 16 other people have been arrested across Italy yesterday in an ongoing investigation into match-fixing and illegal betting on games.
The inquiry is focused on several matches in Serie B over the past two seasons with three of the matches including Atalanta.
Three Serie A matches from last season are also under investigation: Brescia vs. Bari, Brescia vs. Lecce and Napoli vs. Sampdoria.
“This is not the end but just a starting point,” Cremona prosecutor Roberto Di Martino said. “Let’s hope it’s a starting point in cleaning up the beautiful game that is football.
One of the suspects has admitted that these operations have been going on for over 10 years.
“At the top of the organization are men from Singapore who are those who move the money, but the shareholders are divided from the West, to the Far East, to South America and they manage with their men how to change the outcome of football matches.”
Others arrested include former Inter Milan and Roma player Luigi Sartor, former Serie B player Alessandro Zamperini and active players Carlo Gervasoni of Piacenza and Filippo Carobbio of Spezia.
Charges include criminal association and sporting fraud, while Doni has been arrested on suspicion of attempting to destroy evidence.
“There were elements that would have risked ruining the evidence and that lead to the need for custodial measures,” said Di Martino.
A Gubbio player was approached and offered 200,000 Euros to influence the outcome of a cup match between Cesena and Gubbio on Nov. 30. The player refused and reported the incident to the police.
In June, 16 people were arrested as part of the inquiry, which is being led by prosecutors in Cremona, and Doni was then placed under investigation. In August, Doni was banned from football for three and a half years by the Italian football federation’s disciplinary committee and Atalanta, which was promoted to Serie A for this season, was given a six-point penalty. Doni has maintained that he is innocent.
Former Lazio and Italy striker Giuseppe Signori was banned for five years from football as part of the same investigation.
The arrests come five years after another major match-fixing scandal - known as Calciopoli and restricted to club and referee officials but not players - resulted in Juventus getting relegated to Serie B for a season, plus point penalties for Lazio, AC Milan, Fiorentina and Reggina in Serie A.