Italy’s soccer federation says the latest investigation into “match-fixing” has led to the arrest of a player for his part in a league game last season.
Italian news agency ANSA quotes Atalanta defender Andrea Masiello claiming to have directed the ball into his team’s goal while playing for Bari in a game against Lecce last season in Serie A, Italy’s premier soccer league. Bari was down 1-0 when Masiello netted the goal and ended up losing the game 2-0. Italian news agency ANSA reports Masiello was paid 180,000 euros for his deed.
“We thought it was a normal match,” Bari sporting director Guido Angelozzi told SkyTG24 television. “The club is a damaged party in this.”
The Italian football federation said that as many as nine other former Bari players are under investigation. The federation also said investigators are also looking into other Serie A games on suspicion that as many as nine game results were manipulated during the 2010-2011 season.
In December, a police investigation into “match-fixing” and betting in the country’s soccer leagues led to a number of arrests, including former Atalanta midfielder and Italian international Cristiano Doni. Police investigators reported the people arrested and accused had ties to criminal groups in Eastern Europe and Asia. Prosecutor Roberto Di Martino is quoted by BBC Sport saying that match-fixing has been part of Italian soccer for more than 10 years.
"This is not the end - just a starting point," said Di Martino. “Let's hope it's a starting point in cleaning up the beautiful game that is football."