Italian football to get tough on match-fixing

Italian Football Federation (FIGC) President Giancarlo Abete has vowed to punish any and all who are found to have concealed match-fixing.Italian football was rocked by another corruption scandal last week, nearly five years to the day that police unveiled a match-fixing ring that led to Juventus’ relegation to Serie B.

Sixteen people were arrested or placed under house arrest on suspicion of fixing matches in Serie B and Lega Pro, including former Italy international and Lazio captain Giuseppe Signori.

Italian police intercepted over 50,000 phone calls since opening their investigation in November, following a Lega Pro match between Cremonese and Paganese.

Cremonese players allegedly had their drinks spiked with sedatives to ensure they would not play well, with several falling ill after the game.

The investigation uncovered a sophisticated betting system that implicates many former and current Italian footballers in the lower divisions, as well as club executives and bookmakers.

Abete, believing the sixteen arrests so far are just the tip of the iceberg, has called on government authorities to better co-operate with FIGC in order to scrub Italian football clean of corruption.

“The first aim is to punish those who commit acts that infringe the federation rules, the second one is to make every involved is held responsible,” said Abete, whose predecessor Franco Carraro was sacked and fined 80,000 euro for his involvement in the 2006 scandal.

“They cannot hide themselves anymore and they must tell whatever they know.”

“In cases of sports crimes or hypothesis of crimes sports justice could intervene and achieve important and significant results to clean the football world.”

“So we need to act quickly and ask for the shortening of time limits, we need to strengthen the penalty system and we also need stronger penalties, not only for those responsible but also for those who don’t report any wrongdoings.”

“Here we are not facing the old type of sporting fraud that often led to match fixing that could be useful to one team or the other in terms of the table.”

“We are now facing a criminal activity linked to a betting system and this criminal activity has been carried out through sporting fraud in order to obtain an economic gain through a certain game result.”