Report: Ex-Atalanta player admits to fixing in Italy
CREMONA, Italy (AP) -- Former Atalanta captain Cristiano Doni reportedly said he bet on fixed soccer games in Serie B in Italy involving his club. He stressed that he agreed to go along with the scam because his team was not supposed to lose.
Doni was among 16 people arrested across Italy on Monday in an investigation into match-fixing and illegal betting on games.
After five days of solitary confinement, Doni was permitted to meet with his lawyer Friday and was then questioned by prosecutors.
"Yes, I knew about the fix for Atalanta-Piacenza. I gave my approval and I bet," Doni is quoted as saying by Saturday's Gazzetta dello Sport. "I also tried to do the same thing for the match with Ascoli. But they were all personal initiatives, I'm not part of any organization. ... The club didn't know anything."
Atalanta beat Piacenza 3-0 and the Ascoli-Atalanta match finished 1-1. Details have not yet emerged as to precisely what Doni did in the fixed games.
In June, 16 people were arrested as part of the first wave of the inquiry, and Doni was then placed under investigation.
Doni said at the time he was innocent, but in August was banned from soccer for 3 1/2 years by the Italian soccer federation. Atalanta, promoted to Serie A for this season, was penalized six points.
"I said yes to the fixes because Atalanta benefited," Doni told the Gazzetta. "I would have never listened to anyone who offered me money to make my squad lose. I made a mistake and now I can't even look at myself in the mirror because it makes me think about all the pain I've caused my family and the fans.
"The relegation to Serie B hurt me and that's why I accepted these offers," Doni added. "By winning we were sure to be promoted."
The latest arrests come five years after another major match-fixing scandal - restricted to club and referee officials but not players - resulted in Juventus' relegation to Serie B for a season, plus point penalties for Lazio, AC Milan, Fiorentina and Reggina in Serie A.
The prosecutors in Cremona, who are leading the current investigation, have detailed an extensive match-fixing ring stretching as far as Singapore and South America and that has allegedly been in operation for more than 10 years.
Three Serie A matches from last season are also under investigation: Brescia vs. Bari, Brescia vs. Lecce and Napoli vs. Sampdoria.
Others arrested Monday include former Inter Milan and Roma player Luigi Sartor, former Serie B player Alessandro Zamperini and active players Carlo Gervasoni of Piacenza and Filippo Carobbio of Spezia.
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