ROME: Gennaro Gattuso (pictured), a member of Italy’s 2006 World Cup-winning side, was placed under investigation while four people were arrested yesterday in connection with a match-fixing scandal, Italian police reported.
Gattuso, 35, sacked earlier this season as coach of second division Palermo, is suspected of “associating with criminals with intent to commit sporting fraud”.
His agent Andrea D’Amico said: “Rino (Gattuso) is stunned. For the moment we cannot comment, he’s waiting to understand (what’s happening). The lawyers are in touch with the public prosecutor.”
The long-running “Calciosc
ommesse” saga took a further twist with the arrest of the four, all said to have provided the link between players and a clandestine betting ring.
Police declined to say where the arrests had taken place, but the nationwide operation was led by the Cremona prosecutor’s office, which initially uncovered the scandal in 2011.
The four were named as Salvatore Spadaro, Francesco Bazzani, Cosimo Rinci and Fabio Quadri, the news agency Ansa reported.
Gattuso is to be questioned over his links to Bazzani.
“For 30 Serie A matches there was contact between ‘Civ’ (Bazzani’s nickname) and players and officials,” said the Cremona public prosecutor Roberto Di Martino in a press conference.
Di Martino said one of the main matches under investigation was between Chievo and AC Milan on February 20, 2011, and a study of mobile telephones revealed that Gattuso, then a Milan player, had been in contact with Bazzani.
Spadaro is said to be linked with the “Bolognese” gang which was involved with former player Giuseppe Signori, who was arrested in 2011 in the initial investigation into match-fixing.
Bazzani has also been linked with Signori, as well as Almir Gegic, the alleged ringleader of another match-fixing gang.
Gegic, a former Serbian footballer who holds Turkish and Slovak passports, handed himself in to police last year following a year on the run.
Rinci, chairman of the Riccione football club, and Quadri both have links with Spadaro.
Gattuso, renowned as a tough-tackling midfielder who spent the best years of his career with Milan from 1999 to 2012, is not the only former player caught up in the latest investigation.
His former Milan team-mate Cristian Brocchi, 37, is also under investigation.
“Cristian is calm. Under investigation does not mean guilty, nor convicted,” said his agent Davide Lippi.
“We are ready to defend his reputation while waiting for prosecutors to do their job.
“I would invite everyone not to jump to conclusions, right now there’s nothing serious, just requests for tickets (to matches) from certain