ROME: Europa League contenders Napoli have been charged with matchfixing by the Italian federation in the latest round in the long-running Italian football corruption saga writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The club is also in trouble with UEFA over fan behaviour and stadium issues.
The Italian game has been stripped of virtually all credibility after the uncovering of one scandal after another over the past six years.
Goalkeeper Matteo Gianello and former midfielder Silvio Giusti have been charged as has Napoli captain Paolo Cannavaro, younger brother of Italy’s World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro, and Gianluca Grava.
The particular match under investigation was a 1-0 win by Sampdoria over Napoli on May 16, 2010. This was the last day of the season and victory lifted Sampdoria into fourth place in Serie A and the qualifying rounds of the next season’s Champions League.
Gianello, then Napoli’s goalkeeper, is accused of having influenced the game to ensure winning bets on a win for Sampdoria and for having offered money to teammates Paolo Cannavaro and Gianluca Grava – who turned him down. The latter two have been charged with not having reported the approach to the authorities.
A statement from the FIGC said: “Following an investigation by the public prosecutor of Naples, the federal prosecutor will open disciplinary proceedings in relation to the Sampdoria-Napoli match of 16 May, 2010. Matteo Gianello, Napoli’s former player, and Silvio Giusti, Napoli’s former coach, are accused of violating Article 7 [sections 1, 2 and 5] of the sporting code of justice.
“Between them, they are accused of attempting to alter the outcome of the match to secure a victory for Sampdoria in exchange for money. [They are] also accused of having approached colleagues Paolo Cannavaro and Gianluca Grava, from whom they received a refusal.
“Cannavaro and Grava stand accused of violating Article 7 [section 7], in failing to disclose the approach to the federal prosecutor.”
Cannavaro was an unused sub on Thursday night when Napoli lost 3-1 away to Dnipro in Group F of the Europa League.
Napoli suffered a further blow on Friday when the club was fined by UEFA and threatening with a San Paolo European ban over events at last month’s Europa League match with AIK. UEFA said Napoli had been punished “for the inappropriate conduct of their supporters, insufficient organisation in the stadium and non-respect of UEFA directives related to stadium security.”.
A group of Swedish fans were attacked by a gang of Napoli supporters wielding bats and knives, with two being stabbed during the confrontation, a day before the match with AIK.
UEFA’s Control and Disciplinary Body has banned the club from selling tickets for several sections of San Paolo, including the disabled section, for their next European fixture with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk on Nov. 8.
Napoli must show UEFA photographic evidence from an independent construction company that the required work has been at least partially carried out by Nov. 6 or risk being banned from playing home European games at the decaying ground.
UEFA added: “Furthermore, the Control and Disciplinary Body ordered Napoli to play one UEFA competition game behind closed doors, subject to a probationary period of five years. The Italian club have also been fined E150,000.”
The Juventus head coach Antonio Conte was handed a 10-month suspension in August, subsequently reduced to four months on appeal, for his failure to report match-fixing while in charge of Siena.
Conte’s former club subsequently accepted a six-point deduction for their role in the ‘Calcioscommesse’ scandal, with a host of sides from both Serie A, B and the Lega Pro receiving demotions, points penalties and fines across a turbulent summer in Italy.
The former Bari defender Andrea Masiello was given a 22-month suspended prison sentence after admitting scoring an own goal during a relegation decider, with the former Siena defender Emmanuele Pesoli chaining himself to the headquarters of the FIGC for four days in protest against a three-year ban.
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