ROME, Italy, May 28 – Lazio captain Stefano Mauri and several top players were arrested on Monday, while national team defender Domenico Criscito’s room was searched at Italy’s Euro 2012 training camp, as part of a probe into illegal betting.
Mauri was one of 19 people implicated in the investigation into alleged match-fixing in the domestic game, as police swooped in dawn raids on a number of addresses up and down the country, according to Italy’s domestic Ansa news agency.
The players are suspected of having received money to fix matches for betting syndicates, whose head is believed to be based in Singapore.
National team full-back Domenico Criscito’s room was searched at Italy’s Euro 2012 camp just outside Florence as part of the probe, while police also searched the home of Antonio Conte, the coach of Serie A champions Juventus.
Of the 19 people involved in the raids, 10 are either current or former players from the top four divisions in Italy.
As well as 32-year-old Mauri, former Genoa and Fiorentina midfielder Omar Milanetto, 36 who is now with Padova in Serie B, was arrested.
The raids come come less than two weeks before the European Championships begin in Poland and Ukraine, with Mauri usually Italy coach Cesare Prandelli’s first choice left back.
The national team boss is due to announce his final 23-man tournament squad at midday local time (1000 GMT) on Monday.
Italy also play a pre-tournament friendly against Luxembourg in Parma on Tuesday.
Police arrived at Italy’s Coveficano base at 6:25 am while the squad were all still sleeping, according to Ansa.
Technically, Prandelli has until Tuesday to submit a final list to UEFA but given his strict code of ethics, which has seen him drop players on disciplinary charges with their clubs, he may be unwilling to take a player implicated in such an affair.
In May last year, Criscito, who now plays for Zenit St Petersburg in Russia, is alleged to have met with then-Genoa team-mate Giuseppe Sculli, two heads of the club’s “ultra” fans and a Bosnian with a criminal record in a restaurant in the city.
Cremona prosecutors asked for an arrest warrant for Sculli, 31, but that was rejected by the preliminary investigation judge Guido Salvini.
The search of Conte’s home will cut short his celebrations, after he guided Juve to their first Serie A title since 2003.
Chievo captain Sergio Pellissier is another whose home was searched.
The fall-out to the so-called “Calcioscommesse” — football betting — investigation has been felt since last year with several high-profile names being implicated.
Retired former Italy international Giuseppe Signori, 44, was arrested in June and a couple of months later banned from all football-related activities for five years by the Italian Football Federation.
He was also briefly placed under house arrest at one point and is still being investigated.
Former Atalanta captain Cristiano Doni was forced to retire last year at the age of 38 as he was banned for five years for his involvement, which he later admitted.
Investigations have been launched by the prosecutors in Bari and Naples as well as the one in Cremona.
Current Atalanta player Andrea Masiello was arrested in April for having taken money to score an own goal when playing for Bari last season.