Betting mafia fugitive points finger at players
A fugitive from justice in the latest match-fixing scandal to grip Italian football has given an interview pointing the finger at a number of players including former Italy forward Giuseppe Signori.
Macedonian Hristiyan Ilievski told La Repubblica that players were directly involved in the match-fixing.
Last year prosecutors shed light on a huge betting ring involving clubs and players – mostly in the lower leagues – in which results were fixed.
Serie A side Atalanta were one of the clubs implicated and were docked six points ahead of the start of this season for their involvement while their emblematic former striker Cristiano Doni was banned for three-and-a-half years for his role.
He would later be arrested in a separate illegal betting investigation led by the prosecutor of Cremona and eventually also owned up to what he had done.
Ilievski is the number one suspect in that investigation by the Cremona public prosecutor.
“We bought information and placed bets, that’s all,” he told La Repubblica.
“Players phoned me and said: ‘20,000 (euros) on this result’, I did it because I trusted them.
“That doesn’t happen in England but it does in Italy. The players make an agreement and then bet or sell their information.
“We relied on that otherwise they would have sold it to someone else, the Sicilian mafia, the Albanians or to Beppe Signori, one of the leaders of football betting in Italy.”
Signori, who had already retired, was banned for five years from footballing activities by the Italian Football Federation for his involvement while he was also, briefly, placed under house arrest by authorities.
Ilievski said the vast majority of the players involved are in Serie B. And he said even club officials were involved.
“Often it’s the directors of the clubs themselves who come to an agreement,” he said.
“At the end of last year (last season) I came personally to Italy and it was all already decided, who would win the title, who will play in Europe, who will get relegated.
“There were six teams that we had faith in: Sampdoria, Cagliari, Bari, Lecce, Siena and Chievo, and we made a packet.”