Saturday, 8 September 2007

Catania duo in match-fixing scandal

Catania are embroiled in a new scandal as Gianluca Falsini and Armando Pantanelli receive death threats after denying betting and match-fixing allegations.

Last season several clubs were involved in an investigation into illegal betting that saw players such as David Di Michele and Morris Carrozzieri receive bans.

According to ‘La Sicilia’ newspaper, a new inquest has been opened into betting involving goalkeeper Pantanelli – who has moved to Avellino – and fullback Falsini.

The unusual betting pattern revolved around Catania’s 3-3 draw with Ascoli and 1-0 result against Sampdoria.

"I have nothing to do and nothing to say about the matter," insisted Pantanelli.

Falsini was furious at the allegations. "I have never placed a bet in my life and I also didn’t even play in those two games."

The situation is degenerating, as Falsini was the subject of death threats from a group of Catania Ultras before a training session once the reports emerged and he went to the police.

"He was told to leave Catania or die," claimed lawyer Mattia Grassani. "Falsini is really very shaken and fears for his personal safety. I advised him to go home and not leave the house. I fear that at training sessions he will have to be escorted by police."

There is another worrying side to this affair, as Catania have been embroiled in a legal battle with three players over the summer – Mattia Biso, Falsini and Pantanelli.

The trio accused the club of bullying them into quitting by excluding them from training sessions in a bid to force them out.

Catania general manager Pietro Lo Monaco’s comments about the betting allegations hinted the two incidents are not unconnected.

"President Antonio Pulvirenti was clear in his press conference six weeks ago when he said we had nothing to say about the affair involving Biso, Falsini and Pantanelli. This other story involves two of those three players."

The 3-3 Ascoli match saw the visitors take a 3-1 lead before a late fightback from the Sicilians on April 22. It was played on neutral turf at the Stadio Bentegodi in Verona and goalkeeper Pantanelli’s howlers gave away two of the goals.

The other match under investigation is Sampdoria 1-0 win over Catania on May 20, when Cristian Zenoni netted the winner on 65 minutes, again thanks to a Pantanelli mistake.

Falsini did not feature in either of those games.

Source: C4 Football Italia

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