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November 25, 2020

Big names of Italian football involved in match-fixing scandal

Three Serie A games have come under suspicion as the enquiry into ‘Scommessopoli’ continues in Italy, involving big names like Gianluigi Buffon, Gennaro Gattuso or Fabio Cannavaro, according to Sky Sport 24.

Reports say that Lazio’s clash with Genoa at the Stadio Olimpico on May 14 of this year, which finished 4-2 in favour of the home side, is one of the matches now being scrutinised.

It has been claimed that those implicated in the betting scandal had been made calls to someone based at Formello, Lazio’s pre-game training base.

It has also been suggested that the group had an informant within the Italian Football League who was providing Cristiano Doni and Stefano Bettarini, two of the more high-profile names involved in the controversy, with information about the investigation into the alleged match-fixing.

The investigation began last year after it was claimed that some of Cremonese’s players had had their drinks spiked ahead of a clash with Paganese and has subsequently resulted in 33 arrests, including that of former Italy international Giuseppe Signori.

Footballer Cristiano Doni admitted he got involved in the match-fixing scandal to help his team Atalanta, according to Italian news agency AGI. “I agreed to the betters’ proposals out of passion for my team and hoping I could help it achieve its objectives for that season”, Cristiano Doni said to explain his involvement in the betting scam that led to the probe currently being conducted by prosecutors in Cremona and his subsequent arrest.

Doni offered his full cooperation during Tuesday’s questioning before investigating judge Guido Salvini after which he was granted house arrest. “It is my intention to answer for my actions, and I think it is just fair to do so also for my team and all Atalanta supporters. Before the Ascoli-Atalanta game, Santoni told me that, by involving some Ascoli players, it would be easier for us to secure a victory. At that time, we were in the upper half of the league table, and my final goal for the season was helping Atalanta get promoted to the Serie A”, the former Atalanta captain added.

Doni also provided details about his meetings with Santoni before and after the matches. “I’m really sad about what happened and I think I can say that I joined that illegal initiative out of passion for my team and hoping to help it achieve its objectives for that season. I always did my utmost for Atalanta and didn’t gain anything from these events”, Doni explained.

A completely different explanation was provided to the judge by the owner of a bathing establishment in Cervia, Antonio Benfenati, who said he was advised by his friend Doni to bet on a draw between Padova and Atalanta and eventually won 5,000 euro.

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