Over 50 arrested in Italy match-fixing sweep

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Italian has been hit by another match-fixing scandal. Photo: Photo: Shutterstock
10:30 CEST+02:00
UPDATED: More than 50 people have been arrested and 30 are under investigation as part of an inquiry into match-fixing in Italian football, with some of the alleged fraud linked to mafia organizations.

The probe, called 'Dirty Soccer', involves alleged match-fixing across the country’s third and fourth divisions, La Stampa reported on Tuesday.

Thirty-three clubs are allegedly involved, including Pro Patria, Brindisi, L’Aquila, Sorrento and San Severo.

The charges include criminal association aimed at sports fraud, some linked to mafia groups, including Calabria’s infamous ‘Ndrangheta.

The inquiry, which was led by anti-mafia prosecutors in the southern town of Catanzaro, discovered a network between footballers, managers and club presidents, La Stampa reported.

It is the latest in a string of betting and other scandals to tarnish the reputation of Italian football and implicate some of its biggest clubs and players.

Authorities uncovered compelling evidence of attempted or actual match-fixing related to betting in 1980 and 1986.

The first of these two "Totonero" scandals famously resulted in Paolo Rossi being banned for three years. The ban was reduced to two years on appeal and Rossi returned to fire Italy to World Cup glory in Spain in 1982.

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A major 2006 investigation into the corruption of referees resulted in Juventus being relegated and a new scandal centred on betting on minor details of matches rather than results erupted in 2011.

Known as "Calcioscommesse" that investigation overshadowed Italy's Euro 2012 campaign with investigators visiting the national team's training camp to question defender Domenico Criscito, who was subsequently withdrawn from the squad. Criscito was later cleared of any wrongdoing.

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