28th of May 2012 Author: Glo Wood
The captain of Italian football team Lazio has been arrested on Monday by police investigating claims of match-fixing. Midfielder Stefano Mauri, aged 32, was not the only one that was held by the Italian police, as former Genoa midfielder Omar Milanetto was arrested as well.
Stefano Mauri, who joined Lazio from Udinese in 2006 and has 11 caps for Italy, made 16 league appearances last season as Lazio finished fourth in Serie A. He was the team captain and one of the most respected players in Italy.
Omar Milanetto, aged 36, signed for Serie B side Padova last summer after five years at Genoa and made 15 starts last season.
Officers are currently searching more than 30 homes, including those of players, trainers and administrators of clubs in Serie A, the Italian top flight, Serie B and lower divisions.
Five people were also arrested in Hungary on suspicion of being part of an illegal international betting ring but it's unclear whether there is a connection with the arrests in Italy.
Monday's operation in Italy was part of a wider investigation which has already seen a number of arrests, including those of current and former Italian players. The Interior Ministry has set up a special match-fixing task force in response to a number of high profile cases and a growing concern regarding Italian soccer.
Former Atalanta captain Cristiano Doni was banned for three-and-a-half years in August 2011 for his part in the 'Calcioscommesse' scandal involving Serie B matches last season and he was later arrested over match-fixing and betting allegations. Former Lazio and Italy international striker Giuseppe Signori was banned for five years and 15 other players were banned for between one and five years for their involvement in the scandal.
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