Sunday 19 November 2017

Italy matchfixing probe: Coach Prandelli calls for punishments for guilty

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli. Photo: Reuters
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli. Photo: Reuters

ITALY’S coach Cesare Prandelli says the latest matchfixing scandal to hit the country's soccer world will cause great damage but those found guilty must be punished.

"All of us should really strive for a change, I wouldn't say to turn the page but we need to say to those people who have done wrong and who have caused such a great damage, especially to the young fans, like the young kids who will be here tonight to applaud Italy's shirt. We have to say to all, without finding any excuses, all those who have done wrong have to punished."

Italy left back Domenico Criscito will miss the European Championship next month after police turned up at the Azzurri's training camp on Monday (May 28) and formally put the Zenit St Petersburg player under investigation in a match-fixing probe.

Coach Cesare Prandelli was in the process of whittling his 32-man squad down to 25 when police arrived.

Prandelli said the latest allegations would cause damage to the sport in Italy, adding: "All of us should really strive for a change..... all those who have done wrong have to punished."

Criscito, who prosecutors allege was photographed in a restaurant with match-fixing suspects while still a Genoa player in 2011, told reporters: "I have nothing to do with this. I was only out for dinner with some Genoa fans."

Prandelli also cut Emiliano Viviano, Marco Verratti, Davide Astori, Salvatore Bocchetti, Luca Cigarini and Ezequiel Schelotto from his Euro squad with two more names to follow before UEFA's Tuesday midday deadline.

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci has also been linked to match-fixing in testimony from a probe in Bari, where he used to play, but is not under formal investigation and will go to the tournament in Ukraine and Poland.

The latest match-fixing probe has stunned Italy and led to some high-profile arrests on Monday as well as Criscito being warned.

Serie A title-winning Juventus coach Antonio Conte is also under formal investigation over his time as Siena boss.

Italian soccer was last embroiled in a major match-fixing affair in 2006 - the year the national team won the World Cup.

Italy face Spain, Croatia and Ireland in Euro 2012 Group C with their first game against the Spanish holders in Gdansk on June 10.

Source: Reuters

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