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Calcioscommesse Rears Its Ugly Head Again

Last year's match-fixing scandal has been kicked back up in to the limelight. Napoli seems to be unaffected this time around, but not everyone is so lucky.

Giuseppe Bellini

Because no Italian season is complete with league spanning drama of some sort, last season's calcioscommesse match-fixing scandal is back in the headlines. AC Milan legend and former Palermo manager Gennaro Gattuso is under investigation for his alleged involvement in fixing several matches at the end of the 2010-2011 Serie A campaign, along with retired Milan and Lazio star Cristian Brocchi.

Gattuso, for his part, has repeatedly and sternly denied any involvement in the scandal since the news broke. He's even gone so far as to threaten to "kill [him]self" should he be convicted of any ties to match fixing. Brocchi hasn't said much yet, but his agent Davide Lippi (son of Marcello) has spoken in his favor, claiming that the thought of the retired midfielder being involved is "very strange".

Four men have been arrested for serving as go-betweens for players and the "fixers" that organized the match fixing: Salvatore Spadaro, Francesco Bazzani, Cosimo Rinci and Fabio Quadri. Bazzani's phone records in particular allegedly show 13 contacts between he and Gattuso leading up to the AC Milan match against Chievo in February of 2011.

Phone records belonging to the other three indicate contacts with Gattuso between January and March of that year correlating with dates of other matches that were suspected of being fixed. Much of the evidence was apparently gathered using phone taps, according to Cremona prosecutor Roberto Di Martino.

Needless to say, these are ugly accusations. Fortunately this round of investigation seem to have spared Napoli, so at least for now there's no need to worry about suspensions or point deductions, unlike when all this came up last year. Still, any fan of Italian football will want this to be done and over with as soon as possible, if for no other reason than to get it out of the headlines and stop putting yet another negative spotlight on this sport in Italy.