Italian police have arrested former Italy midfielder Doni in a match-fixing and betting investigation along with 16 other people, in several Italian cities.
Doni made seven appearances for his national team between 2001 and 2002, apart from nearly 300 appearances for Serie A club Atalanta, in which he scored over 100 goals. The Italian Football Federation banned Doni for three-and-a-half years this summer, and the former Italy player was arrested on a charge of attempting to destroy evidence. Others arrested along with Doni included currently active players, Spezia’s Filippo Carobbio and Piacenza’s Carlo Gervasoni apart from ex-Serie B player Alessandro Zamparini and Former Italy international Luigi Sartor.
Magistrates carried out a preliminary investigation in Cremona, a northern Italian city, before the investigation spread to other regions. Criminal groups in Singapore and Eastern Europe are said to have master-minded the match-fixing and betting scam, and were said to have been in contact with those arrested, according to Italian police.
Cremona prosecutor Roberto Di Martino is reported to have said, “This is not the end – just a starting point. Let’s hope it’s a starting point in cleaning up the beautiful game that is football.” Martino claimed that a suspect had confessed to involvement in match-fixing for over a decade. Martino also claimed that a near-global scale of match-fixing had been uncovered by the investigation. He said that the stakeholders in the match-fixing racket were spread across countries ranging from the West to the Far East to South America.
While Doni has claimed innocence, his club Atalanta have been docked six penalty points, owing to the incident. Atalanta were promoted to Serie A at the end of last season. Police said that several Serie B players, current and former, had also been arrested and those arrested included the former coach of fourth division club, Ravenna, and the manager of a seaside club.
The operation, code named “Last Bet”, had under the scanner some Serie B matches in which Atalanta had played, over the past two seasons, as well as some Serie A matches played during the period. Five years ago, Juventus were relegated to Serie B for a season after being found guilty in a match fixing scandal. Lazio, AC Milan, Reggina and Fiorentina had all been penalised for alleged attempts to influence refereeing appointments.
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An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.