By Nick Harris
25 March 2010
Uefa is studying “unusual” betting patterns and outcomes in four recent matches in Italian football as part of a new probe into match-fixing that investigators believe has roots in Italy but could have links to Asia, sportingintelligence can reveal.
The governing body is already deeply involved in the ongoing attempted elimination of a Croatia-based, pan-European match-fixing ring. Most recently that purge led to 46 arrests in Turkey yesterday, including arrests of players and coaches, 45 of whom are being questioned today.
But informed sources in the bookmaking industry in Europe and Asia have told sportingintelligence that four Italian matches are being looked at as part of a separate fixing investigation. “It’s worrying because it’s a completely new front, and any hint of a link to Asian fixers would add a sinister new dimension,” one source said. Uefa sources have confirmed the probe into four Italian games.
Details of one of the matches has already been widely reported. Bookies across Europe suspended bets last midweek on Sunday’s game in Serie A between Chievo and Catania after more than £2m was wagered on a draw, and hundreds of thousands of pounds on 1-1 specifically. The result was 1-1, with a dubious penalty among the irregularities.
Now sportingintelligence can reveal that Uefa and the Italian authorities are also looking at three other games, all played in Serie B last month. Uefa was tipped off by bookmakers after “strange” betting patterns on the games between Gallipoli and Grosseto on 8 February, between Grosseto and Cittadella on 13 February, and between Salernitana and Triestina on 15 February.
“It’s true, we’re looking at four games in Italy,” a senior investigative source told sportingintelligence today. “Chievo-Catania is in a situation [of severity] on its own. We have never seen volumes like this before, ever. Clearly it looks fixed.
“The other three games, something also looks wrong. [There was] less money, and we don’t make conclusions yet. But it needs explaining.”
Sportingintelligence understands that Uefa was alerted to look at the Gallipoli-Grosseto game after a flood of money on a draw, especially 1-1 and 2-2 outcomes. The game finished 2-2. On the Salernitana match, there was “irregular” money for the away win, especially on a 1-3 score. The game ended 1-2. In the Grosseto-Cittadella game, the money suggested a draw, but Grosseto won.
It is understood that the Italian investigators are working on the hypothesis that the Serie A and Serie B games are “Italian business” and not linked in any way to the pan-European fixing. “But the concern is that we know sizable sums were traded on the Asian markets, mainly on the Chievo game,” one source said. “It was known in Asia, well ahead of that game, that 1-1 was going down. That has to be a concern.”
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