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Criscito out of Italy squad after police search

ROME, Italy, May 28 – Domenico Criscito will not be part of Italy’s Euro 2012 squad following his implication in the “Calcioscommesse” match-fixing scandal, Italian football federation vice-president Demetrio Albertini said Monday.

Criscito was handed a notice of indictment in a dawn raid on Monday in which his hotel room at Italy’s pre-Euro base near Florence was searched by police.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli was due to announce his 23-man squad later on Monday but Albertini has confirmed Criscito will not be a part of it.

“It was a decision shared by Prandelli and the federation,” said Albertini. “He (Criscito) is disappointed about the repercussions on the national team and the dressing room.

“He explained certain things to me and I believe his version and in his innocence.”

In a series of co-ordinated raids, 19 people were held by police following an investigation into illegal betting by the Cremona public prosecutor.

Of those, 14 were arrested, three were held under house arrest and two more ordered to present themselves to police.

Lazio captain Stefano Mauri and Padova midfielder Omar Milanetto, formerly of Genoa, were amongst those arrested.

Juventus coach Antonio Conte was submitted to a home search, as was Chievo captain Sergio Pellissier.

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But the main drama was at Italy’s Coverciano base, just outside Florence, where police swooped at 6:35 am (0435 GMT).

Criscito’s room was searched, although it is believed nothing was taken away.

Cremona public prosecutor Stefano Di Martino told a news conference that no other national team players were involved and that Criscito could “calmly go to the Euros”, as he was merely helping police with the investigation.

His alleged involvement relates to a meeting he had in May last year, when playing for Genoa, with two of the clubs “ultra” fans, then team-mate Giuseppe Sculli and a Bosnian with a criminal record.

The Calcioscommesse affair is believed to involve a group of Hungarians, a group of “Zingari” — Gypsies in Italy — and the heads of the crime syndicate in Singapore.

Two Hungarians were arrested on Monday while three others were already behind bars, one of whom has been co-operating with police.

Di Martino stressed that Criscito has not been charged with anything and the player’s agent Andrea D’Amico said his client was feeling calm.

But Prandelli is a stickler for discipline and has previously excluded players from Italy duty when they were serving club bans.

Criscito, 25, who plays for Zenit St Petersburg in Russia, has largely been the first-choice left-back under Prandelli, although he has used several players in that position since taking over from Marcello Lippi following the 2010 World Cup.

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The European Championships kick-off in less than two weeks while Italy play friendlies against Luxembourg on Tuesday and Russia on Friday.

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