16 Arrests in the Italian Football Rigging Raid

Several league football players among arrests in a major police swoop

Following a major police swoop aimed at eradicating corruption from Italian football by raiding rigged betting groups, a number of former football players from Serie A, Serie B and Lega Pro and few active ones were arrested together with the managers of Lega Pro clubs, the Italian media reported.

According to the Police spokesperson, owing to the efforts of the Cremona flying squad which worked hand in hand with the central operational service (SCO), the raids were successfully carried out, including visits to suspects' homes, some betting shops and an accountants' office, and 16 involved persons were arrested. They are facing charges of fraud or sports fraud-related criminal association.

Local media report that the police have revealed that over six months of investigations preceded this week's actions. Moreover, head of the Cremona flying squad, Sergio Lo Presti, has described that the investigations were commenced after an event from November 2010, when six Cremonese players suffered from food poisoning due to drinking beverages and the police suspected that it was a deliberate attempt to affect the result of the forthcoming match.

Referring to the recent arrests, investigators claimed that those 16 persons might have rigged a number of matches in the Serie B and Lega Pro championships over the past few months, adding that magistrates in Cremona issued seven orders for pre-trial detention in prison and nine for house arrest.

As per initial investigations' results, the entire scam could involve around several hundred thousand Euros. Investigators also said that the organisation's bets on each match are believed to have been worth several hundred thousand euros.

Apart from football players and officials, it has been disclosed that betting shop owners could also have been involved, while further 28 people are under an ongoing investigation, but have not yet been detained.

After Cremona, arrests were continued in a number of other Italian towns and cities, including Bari, Como, Bologna, Rimini, Pescara, Ancona, Ascoli, Ravenna, Benevento, Rome, Turin, Naples and Ferrara.

Major attention was given to the reports that former Lazio captain and Italy striker Beppe Signori is under house arrest as a result of the police actions. In addition, Ascoli defender Vittorio Micolucci and midfielder Vincenzo Sommesse are also confined to their homes. On the other hand, Gianfranco Parlato, a former Serie B and Serie C footballer currently working for Viareggio has been put in jail.

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