Criscito out of Italian team over match-fixing probe
ROME DOMENICO Criscito on Monday left Italy’s Euro 2012 squad after being placed under investigation in a corruption scandal.
Police arrested Lazio captain Stefano Mauri and 18 other people, including former Serie A Genoa captain Omar Milanetto, currently with Padova in Serie B, following arrest warrants issued by prosecutors in Cremona.
Police in Turin also searched the house of Antonio Conte, coach of Serie A champions Juventus who last season led Siena to promotion in the top flight. He appears to be under investigation for sports fraud with more than 100 other people.
Criscito was notified early on Monday at Italy’s training camp in Coverciano, where the Azzurri are preparing for Euro 2012.
Coach Cesare Prandelli was to issue by Tuesday a final list of 23 players for the event, which Poland and Ukraine host jointly from June 8 to July 1
Football federation vice president Demetrio Albertini said that the 19-times capped Criscito will not be at Euro 2012. ”His main goal now is to resolve this situation as soon as possible,” Albertini said.
“He apologised for creating problems to the team, even though he said he had no fault.” Magistrates must do their job. We could never imagine such a situation with (Simone) Farina and (Fabio) Pisacane here,” he added in reference to two minor-league players at the camp as a reward for reporting scams.” (Criscito) was shattered. His explanations are believable.
He convinced me. Mauri gave his contribution to la Nazionale (with 11 appearances).
There is solidarity, so that he, like the other suspects, can prove himself innocent.” Criscito, 25, plays with Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg,but was until last season at Genoa, whose Georgian Kakhaber Kaladze and Giuseppe Sculli, now at Lazio, are also investigated.
He is believed to have had contacts with people suspected of bribing players. ”I have nothing to do with this. I was having dinner with some fans of Genoa,” he was quoted as saying.
Genoa v Lazio, which the Rome hosts won 4-2 in May 2011, is one of the Serie A games investigated.
Cremona chief prosecutor Roberto Di Martino said that more than ¢2million are believed to have been won from bets on Lecce v Lazio, with 600,000 euros paid to bribe footballers.
”We are also investigating seven or eight games of Siena, all from2011,” Di Martino said.
Siena president Massimo Mezzaroma also appears to be investigated, while the Conte’s lawyer was quoted as saying the coach “is absolutely not involved and fully determined to prove his distance from any allegation.” Gilberto Caldarozzi, another prosecutor in the probe called Last Bet, told state broadcaster Radio RAI that a group of Hungarian punters is suspected of having contacted footballers to fix Serie A and B games.
Caldarozzi said that an international group based in Singapore, which ran the scams, was replaced by Hungarians and that five arrests were to be made in Hungary.
”They continued to operate certainly until a year ago. More developments are certainly expected, because from the questioning and the searches we will have more elements, also from investigations on the assets of the suspects,” he said.