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Italian football should be suspended for several years, says Italian PM Mario Monti

Published: May 30, 2012 | 8:23 am
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ITALY Prime Minister Mario Monti last night sensationally claimed football in the country should be suspended for two or three years.
A second match-fixing scandal in the last six years is currently gripping Italy, with the latest stage of a probe carried out by Cremona prosecutors on Monday resulting in the arrests of 19 people, among them Lazio captain Stefano Mauri.
That brings the total number of arrests to around 50 since last year.
And many more have been placed under investigation, including Italy international Domenico Criscito, who was considered a certainty to make the Azzurri’s Euro 2012 squad until his room at their training camp was raided on Monday. He has now been dropped.
Monti said: “We must reflect and evaluate if it would not be useful to have a total suspension of the game for two to three years.
“This is not a government proposal but it is something that I, who have been for many years a football fan, feel inside me.
“It is particularly sad when a world such as sport, which should be an expression of high values, proves to appear a concentration of the most reprehensible aspects such as disloyalty, illegality and falseness.”
Monday’s arrests are part of an investigation called Last Bet, which focuses on 33 games over the past two seasons, the majority of which were in Serie B.
Earlier this month, the Italian FA released a 48-page list naming 22 clubs and 61 individuals who have been reported to the football authorities in connection with a match-fixing ring and betting investigation.
The latest inquiry is a huge blow to the game in Italy, which had gradually been recovering from the scandal that rocked the nation six years ago.
In 2006, a match-fixing probe led to Juventus being stripped of two titles and relegated to Serie B after being found guilty of influencing referees.
Italian FA president Giancarlo Abete last night said: “There is bitterness and sadness for what has happened. It is totally unacceptable.
“This latest situation makes us reflect because certain elements have entered the sporting system.
“Everyone will nevertheless have the possibility to defend themselves in the legal and sporting trials.”
A trial carried out by a sporting tribunal will begin today and Serie A president Maurizio Beretta hopes the process will not drag on.
He said: “We hope it will be fast and that drastic punishments are handed out to those who have stained a world that should focus on credibility and transparency.”

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