Charges brought in soccer game-fixing case

July 26, 2011 at 9:21 PM
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NAPLES, Italy, July 26 (UPI) -- A prosecutor in Naples, Italy, cited 19 professional soccer players, coaches and managers accused of taking part in a scheme to fix matches.

Former Italy player Giuseppe Signori and 10 other people are suspected of "conspiracy to commit illicit actions" as part of the sports gambling scandal, ANSA reported.

Another player, Cristiano Doni, and seven others were cited for a specific Series B match, Atalanta versus Piacenza, that showed an irregular betting structure, the Italian news agency said.

If found guilty, Atalanta could be demoted, and Doni could face a three-year ban from the sport.

The investigation into the soccer world was made after members of a third-tier team, Cremonese, became ill after a match last year. Their former goalkeeper, Marco Paoloni, allegedly laced his teammates' drinks with sleeping drops before the game.

Paoloni is among those cited by the prosecutor Tuesday.

Italy is not the only country looking into betting-related match-fixing. Turkey has arrested 83 people in relation to match-fixing since July 3, 26 of whom are still in jail pending trials, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

"[The match-fixing investigation] could lead to the cleaning of Turkish football, if it is not covered up, but everyone should tell what they know," İsmail Uyanık, a businessman and chairman of the Samsunspor club.

Union of European Football Associations President Michel Platini commended Italian authorities for their investigation into match-fixing for betting scams after a number of similar cases popped up worldwide.

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