Sunday 21 January 2018

Italian crisis: Match-fixing arrests rock Prandelli's Euro squad

Ireland's Shay Given sits in the dugout with an ice-pack on his knee during squad training in
Montecatini yesterday
Ireland's Shay Given sits in the dugout with an ice-pack on his knee during squad training in Montecatini yesterday

Daniel McDonnell in Montecatini

GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI will today submit his 23-man Euro 2012 squad to UEFA, but his injury problems are small fry compared to the turmoil being suffered by his Italian counterpart Cesare Prandelli as football was rocked by another match-fixing scandal.

Police launched dawn raids that included a trip to the Italian team headquarters in Coverciano -- just 50km from the Irish training base in Montecatini -- to search the room of defender Domenico Criscito, who subsequently pulled out of Prandelli's finals squad.

Another intended panel member, defender Leonardo Bonucci, is also set to be questioned as part of a wide-ranging probe dating back three years.

Elsewhere, Lazio captain Stefano Mauri was arrested, and title-winning Juventus boss Antonio Conte is also being investigated in relation to a previous job.

The former head of FIFA's match-fixing unit, Chris Eaton, has described it as the "most important investigation" into this murky area. "I am afraid there is more to come," he said.

All 16 European Championships finalists must submit their squads to UEFA today, and the chaos has seriously disrupted Prandelli's plans. By contrast, their Group C rivals Ireland are in relatively good shape.

Shay Given and John O'Shea stepped up their recovery from knee and ankle injuries respectively yesterday. Given did some kicking, and O'Shea jogged, and while they both needed ice packs afterwards, Trapattoni is certain they will join the full group later this week and feature in next Monday's friendly with Hungary in Budapest.

The 73-year-old revealed Paul McShane wouldn't be on the list that is handed in today, but confirmed he is still in with a chance of receiving a jersey in Poland. If the walking wounded Irish defenders fail to fully prove their fitness between now and the June 10 opener with Croatia, then the Hull man will deputise once UEFA are satisfied that the injury is genuine.

McShane actually sat out training yesterday with a bruised heel, while a thigh issue prevented Darren O'Dea from taking a full part. Kevin Foley was involved, though, and will start tonight's friendly with a Tuscany XI. Stephen Kelly, who has been wearing a cast after a wrist operation, will also figure, although Trapattoni indicated that Foley and Kelly are most vulnerable if he needs to find room for McShane.

Irish Independent

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