ROME – Domenico Criscito was on Monday dropped from Italy’s Euro2012 squad after his room at the side’s training camp was searchedby police as part of a match-fixing probe that also saw Laziocaptain Stefano Mauri arrested. Italian football federation vice-president Demetrio Albertini saidthe decision was taken jointly by the association and national teamcoach Cesare Prandelli, despite prosecutors insisting that Criscitowas not charged and was free to play. “He (Criscito) is disappointed about the repercussions on thenational team and the dressing room,” said Albertini. “He explainedcertain things to me and I believe his version and in hisinnocence.” The search of Criscito’s room came as police swooped in a series ofdawn raids up and down the country, targeting a number of topplayers as part of an investigation into alleged match-fixing. The investigation — the latest to hit Italian football — comes onthe day Prandelli was due to announce his final squad for theshowpiece tournament in Poland and Ukraine in just over two weeks’time.
The public prosecutor in Cremona, Stefano Di Martino, said threeSerie A matches — Bari-Sampdoria, Lecce-Lazio and Lazio-Genoa –were being investigated as well as seven or eight matches involvingSiena last season when they were in Serie B. Two million euros (US$2.5 million) was won on the Lecce-Lazio matchand 600,000 euros was used to bribe players, he added. Lazio skipper Mauri was one of 19 people implicated in theinvestigation, which is believed to be centred on the payment ofplayers by betting syndicates masterminded in Singapore. Criscito’s agent, Andrea D’Amico, added that Criscito, who did nottrain with his team-mates on Monday morning, was calm and claims tohave simply met with his ex-club’s fans following a derby defeat toSampdoria. In May last year, Criscito, who now plays for Zenit St Petersburgin Russia, is alleged to have met with then-Genoa team-mateGiuseppe Sculli, two heads of the club’s “ultra” fans and a Bosnianwith a criminal record in a restaurant in the city.
Cremona prosecutors asked for an arrest warrant for Sculli, 31, butthat was rejected by the preliminary investigation judge. Conte, who guided Juve to their first Serie A title since 2003, isbeing investigated over his time as coach of Siena in Serie B lastseason. “Conte has reacted as someone completely removed and stronglydetermined to show he has nothing to do with these accusations,”said Conte’s agent, Antonio De Rencis. Of the 19 people targeted by the raids, 14 were arrested, threeplaced under house arrest and two ordered to present themselves toa police station. Eleven are either current or former players, mostly from Italy’stop four divisions. Bose Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones
As well as 32-year-old Mauri, former Genoa and Fiorentinamidfielder Omar Milanetto, 36 who is now with Padova in Serie B,was arrested. Chievo captain Sergio Pellissier also had his homesearched. Five Hungarians, two who were arrested and three more alreadybehind bars, are believed to have had contacts with a group of”Zingari” — Gypsies in Italian — and the chiefs in Singapore tomanipulate Italian matches. The fall-out to the so-called “Calcioscommesse” — football betting– investigation has been felt since last year with severalhigh-profile names implicated. China Bose Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones
Previous corruption scandals in the Italian game have done littleto hinder the national side. The 1980 “Totonero” scandal saw AC Milan and Lazio relegated toSerie B while star striker Paolo Rossi was banned for two years. Hecame back just in time to be Italy’s hero in their 1982 World Cupvictory. In 2006, Juve were relegated and stripped of their 2005 and 2006titles for interfering with the referees’ commission. Ludacris Soul Headphones Manufacturer
Just over amonth later, Italy won their fourth World Cup. – AFP/ir.