Italy's new football match-fixing
scandal gained momentum on Tuesday when legal testimony showed
former Atalanta captain and Italy midfielder Cristiano Doni
admitting his role in illicit betting.
Reports also said another accused player, ex-Piacenza
defender Carlo Gervasoni, had told prosecutors that many more
Italian matches than previously suspected involved illegal
betting and match-fixing including games in Serie A.
Promoted top-flight side Atalanta had six points deducted
and Doni was banned for three-and-a-half-years in August after a
football federation probe into betting in Serie B last term, but
Doni had never previously admitted his guilt.
On Tuesday, the ANSA news agency published his testimony in
front of criminal prosecutors where he said he engaged in
illegal betting "only because of the passion which linked me to
my team and the hope of being able to help them to the objective [of promotion] that season."
Atalanta, thriving in 11th in Serie A despite the deduction,
issued a statement last week saying they had reacted with
"surprise and great bitterness" after hearing rumours Doni had
admitted involvement following his arrest this month.
Another 16 people were arrested as police, following up on
the football federation investigation, said it had evidence of
connections between the accused and criminal groups in Singapore
and Eastern Europe.
Italy has only just got over a previous match-fixing scandal
which led to Juventus being demoted from the top flight in 2006
and stripped of two league titles.
Juve have only now fully recovered from the blow and are
joint-top of Serie A at the mid-season break.
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