Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Betting scandal hits calcio

Italian football is on the verge of another crisis after 21 players were placed under investigation for illegal betting.

La Gazzetta dello Sport has published the names of the players it claims are being investigated and they include Vincenzo Iaquinta, David Di Michele and Marek Jankulovksi among other.

The Udine prosecutors' office has sent a report regarding their findings to the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), where chief investigator Francesco Saverio Borrelli and his staff must now decide whether to open their own investigation.

The inquiry was based on bets allegedly made by players between 1998 and 2005 which totalled close to £7m. According to the report, some players placed bets on games during half-time. The majority of those bets were made prior to November 2005, before a sporting law was passed in which players who placed bets on FIFA, UEFA and Italian football games would face a minimum of 18 months suspension.

Four drawn matches – Reggina-Bologna (May 8, 2005), Ascoli-Cagliari, Parma-Siena and Udinese-Chievo (April 22, 2006) – were also put under the microscope by prosecutors.

Players named in the enquiry, some of whom have now retired, are: Abeijon (Atalanta), Bia (ex-Bologna), Bordin (ex-Napoli), Di Michele (Palermo), Ferrante (Pescara), Fresi (ex-Inter), Gregori (ex-Udinese), Iaquinta (Udinese), Jankulovski (Milan), Kalac (Milan), Thomas Manfredini (Bologna), Margiotta (Frosinone), Pierini (ex-Udinese), Pineda (ex-Udinese), Pinzi (Udinese), Scarlato (Spezia), Schwoch (Vicenza), Sgrigna (Vicenza), Sommese (Mantova), Sosa (Napoli) and Walem (ex-Udinese).

All the players involved have denied any wrongdoing. Nobody has been charged with any offence.

Earlier this season Sampdoria striker Francesco Flachi was handed a two-month ban for his involvement in a betting scandal.

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