4th of October 2012 Author: Glo Wood
A defender has been given a 22-month suspended prison sentence in Italy after admitting to scoring a deliberate own goal in Serie A in May 2011. Andrea Masiello, aged 26 and currently without a club, confessed in court to intentionally diverting the ball into his own net while playing for Bari. His side lost that game 2-0 to Lecce, who escaped from relegation with the win. Masiello's confession ensured he avoided serving time in jail.
However, despite Masiello's assistance, Lecce were subsequently relegated to Lega Pro level (third tier) for their involvement in match-fixing. Concerns had been raised over the last four games of Bari's 2010-11 season, with those matches having a direct effect on the relegation positions and qualification for Europe in the league.
Bari's 2-0 home defeat in front of 19,000 fans at Stadio Comunale San Nicola was sealed when Masiello deflected a goal attempt beyond his own goalkeeper, Jean-Francois Gillet, with 10 minutes of the game remaining. Along with Lecce's demotion to the lower leagues, Bari had to start their Serie B campaign with a seven-point penalty. Their punishment formed part of the wide-range investigation into the 'Calcioscommesse' scandal that also saw Juventus manager Antonio Conte suspended for 10 months in August.
More than 20 Italian football teams have been informed that they are under investigation as part of an inquiry into match-fixing. The Italian football federation said 61 people, including 52 active players, will also have to answer questions over the allegations. More than 30 arrests have been made in investigations into match-fixing over the past year in Italy.
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