10 Aug 2011

Big penalties following Italian match fixing activity

6:09 am on 10 August 2011

The Italian football club Atalanta has had six points deducted and their captain, former Italy international Cristiano Doni, has been suspended for three-and-a-half years by the Italian Federation over alleged match-fixing.

The retired former Lazio and Italy striker Giuseppe Signori has been banned for five years from any football-related activity.

They were among 17 individuals suspended for between one and five years and an equal number of clubs, all except Atalanta outside the top division, to have points deducted or be fined in the betting scandal.

The federation said Atalanta's punishment will take effect for the coming season, meaning the team will begin their first campaign back in the top flight with minus six points when Serie A kicks off at the end of this month.

The clubs and individuals were cited by the Federation's sporting prosecutor following a criminal investigation into a betting scam which had initially centred on 18 games in the second tier Serie B and Italy's lower divisions.

Police said they had found evidence of an organised system among former and current footballers, sports betting operators and others to manipulate the results of a number of matches.

They said bets worth tens of thousands of euros, and in some cases hundreds of thousands, had been placed on matches.

Italian football had only just recovered from a 2006 match-fixing scandal which led Juventus to be demoted to Serie B.