FC Catania rocked by match-fixing scandal

Police have arrested seven people in an investigation into match-fixing at FC Catania. The men are accused of fixing matches in order to keep the club in Serie B.

FC Catania rocked by match-fixing scandal
Catania fans sitting in the 'curva nord'. Photo:Roberto68

The arrests came as bad news for fans of Gli Elefanti, who saw three high-ranking men with close ties to their club arrested

Club President Antonio Pulvirenti, Vice President, Pablo Consentino and ex-sporting director Daniele Delli Carri, were all placed under house arrest on Monday, along with four other men. These included two sporting agents and two managers of online betting sites.

Italian football finds itself mired in yet another scandal and the invisible hand of the mafia is always a possibility, especially when dealing with fraud in Sicily. The investigation, nicknamed “the goal train” is being coordinated by the anti-mafia investigative agency of Catania La Repubblica reported.

“At least five games, maybe six were fixed and sums of money given to players,” Catania's public prosecutor, Giovanni Salvi, told AFP.

Further searches are being carried out in Rome, Chieti, Campobasso and Catania. At present, no members from any sporting association other than FC Catania are being investigated.

FC Catania finished the 2014-2015 season in 15th place in Serie B, just five points above the automatic relegation zone and two points above Modena and Virtus Entella who occupied the relegation play-off spots.

Among the games that were allegedly fixed include three games from an impressive five-match winning streak between March and April that helped lift the Sicilian side away from the danger zone.

This is just the latest in a long line of match-fixing scandals in Italy. Just this May, 50 people were arrested  following an investigation into match-fixing in Italy's third and fourth divisions.

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Italy’s Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report

Ex-PM Matteo Renzi would like to see former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi become prime minister of Italy, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.

Italy's Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report
Matteo Renzi. Image: Andreas Solaro/ POOL / AFP

“I would say that is one of our proposals,” confirmed the source, who declined to be named.

The Italian government collapsed last week when PM Giuseppe Conte resigned. The former coalition allies are currently trying to come to an agreement and sort out their differences.

The centre-left government had been in turmoil ever since former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his Italia Viva party earlier this month, a move that forced Conte to step down this week.

During the past year, Renzi frequently criticised Conte’s management of the pandemic and economic crisis.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper also reported on Sunday that President Sergio Mattarella was considering Draghi for the prime ministerial role. However, Mattarella’s office promptly denied this, saying there had been no contact between them.

So far, there has been no comment from Draghi, who hasn't been seen much in the public eye since 2019.

Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, gave ruling parties more time on Friday to form a new government, after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

Coalition parties Italia Viva, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement must come to an agreement to allow the government to heal. 

Renzi, a former prime minister himself, has pubilcly stated that he does not want to talk about who should lead the next government at this stage, reasoning that the parties need to agree on a way forward first.

“Any effort today to fuel a discussion about Draghi is offensive to Draghi and above all to the president of the republic,” Renzi said in an interview published on Sunday with Corriere della Sera.

A senior Italia Viva lawmaker also told Reuters that “If the president gives a mandate to Draghi, we would certainly support this”. 

Renzi, whose party is not even registering three percent support in opinion polls, quit the coalition over Conte’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his plans for spending more than 200 billion euros from a European Union fund to help Italy’s damaged economy.

READ ALSO: Why do Italy's governments collapse so often?