2012-05-30 16:33:03

Football scandal continues in Italy

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti yesterday suggested that Italian football should be suspended for two to three years in response to a match-fixing scandal which has led to over a dozen arrests over the past week, including that of Lazio captain Stefano Mauri.

Serie A clubs Atalanta, Novara and Siena were among the 22 Italian teams notified at the beginning of this month that they are being investigated by sports authorities.

Prosecutors have detailed an extensive match-fixing ring stretching as far as Singapore and South America that was allegedly in operation for more than 10 years.

Italy was subject to another match-fixing scandal in 2006, which led to current champion Juventus being punished with relegation.

The current scandal could be even worse for the game.

“The scandal in 2006 was about match-fixing simply in order to win, really. This is a betting-based scandal,” explained Dr. Vanda Wilcox, Adjunct Professor of Modern European History at Rome’s John Cabot University.

Wilcox, who also covers Serie A as a journalist, told Vatican Radio the top names being arrested probably got mixed-up in match-fixing earlier in their careers.

“A lot of the corruption begins lower down the ladder,” she said.

“It begins in the second or third level of the championship where players are paid much less, and where in recent years a lot of clubs have been in trouble and have struggled to pay wages on time. Oftentimes it has been players who have not been paid for a couple of months who start to accept these bribes. Other times it has been players who have themselves run up big gambling debts and who then have been put under pressure to start fixing games.”

Listen to the interview by Charles Collins with Dr. Vanda Wilcox: RealAudioMP3

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