Atalanta defender Andrea Masiello has been arrested after reportedly admitting his part in the inquiry into match-fixing, and eight of his former Bari teammates are under investigation, the Italian soccer federation said Monday.
Article continues below ...
The federation called the arrests ”sensational developments” and promised to take ”swift action” against the players if found guilty.
Since the first wave of 16 arrests in June, more than 30 people have been arrested, including former Atalanta captain Cristiano Doni and former Lazio captain Giuseppe Signori.
Bari’s last nine matches in Serie A last season are being looked into, according to the federation, including the game in which Masiello’s own goal helped Lecce win 2-0 to avoid relegation after Bari had already been demoted.
Masiello spent 3 1/2 years at Bari before moving to Atalanta last summer. According to the Italian news agency ANSA, Masiello said he scored the own goal on purpose to receive $239,000.
ANSA reported that Masiello sent a written note to Bari prosecutors last week, saying that ”I want to add that when the result was 1-0 to Lecce, I took advantage of an opportunity that was given to me so that I could definitely secure Bari’s defeat and so I could get the payment promised to me, thus scoring the own goal which sealed the match.”
Bari’s match at Udinese in May 2010 is also under suspicion.
Several Bari players at the end of the 2010-11 season were ”more or less ‘on the market,’ not in the footballing sense of the term, normally referring to the buying and selling of players in the summer, but in the lesser meaning of the expression,” Bari judge Giovanni Abbattista said in a 93-page document.
Italian media identified the other players under investigation as Daniele Portanova, Alessandro Parisi, Simone Bentivoglio, Marco Rossi, Abdelkader Ghezzal, Marco Esposito, Antonio Bellavista and Nicola Belmonte.
”There will be zero tolerance and swift action by the sporting justice to clean up and pinpoint all those responsible,” said Giancarlo Abete, president of the Italian soccer federation.
He said the federation’s prosecutors are working with authorities in Cremona and Bari, and hope to file the first charges by the end of April. The charges are criminal association and fraud.