ROME - Two days after Juventus clinched the Serie A title to mark its return to the top of Italian football following the 2006 match-fixing scandal, the national sport risks being sent back into disarray due to a new betting probe.
Without naming the clubs or people, the Italian football federation (FIGC) announced Tuesday that 22 clubs and 61 people will be informed Wednesday that they are under investigation and will have to answer to sports authorities over a match-fixing and betting scandal.
Of the 61 people, 52 are active players, two are non-active, four are club officials or collaborators and three are coaches.
The FIGC also said that 33 matches are under investigation, including 29 in Serie B, although none in Serie A.
More than 30 people have been arrested in Italy in the past year in the probe started by judicial authorities in Cremona, including former Atalanta captain Cristiano Doni and former Lazio captain Giuseppe Signori.
The FIGC inquiry will likely lead to a massive sports trial this summer — just like the one in 2006 that resulted in Juventus being relegated to Serie B and point-penalties for several other top clubs. Juventus was also stripped of the 2005 and 2006 titles.
Last summer, Doni was banned from football for 3 1/2 years by the federation's disciplinary committee, and Atalanta — which was promoted to Serie A for this season — was given a six-point penalty.
There was also a big betting scandal in 1980, resulting in numerous arrests and bans for club officials and top players, including Paolo Rossi, who returned to lead Italy to the 1982 World Cup title.
Regarding this scandal, prosecutors in Cremona have detailed an extensive match-fixing ring stretching as far as Singapore and South America that was allegedly in operation for more than 10 years.
More clubs and people could be placed under inquiry once Stefano Palazzi, the FIGC prosecutor, works through documents relating to another wing of the probe based in Bari.