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Italian Soccer Players Arrested Over Match-Fixing

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Policemen stand by a screen during a press conference by Cremona prosecutor following dawn raids on a number of addresses up and down the country as part of a probe into football illegal betting on May 28, 2012 in Cremona. Lazio captain Stefano Mauri and several top players were arrested, while national team defender Domenico Criscito's room was searched at Italy's Euro 2012 training camp, as part of the probe. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN

Policemen stand by a screen during a press conference by Cremona prosecutor following dawn raids on a number of addresses up and down the country as part of a probe into football illegal betting on May 28, 2012 in Cremona. Lazio captain Stefano Mauri and several top players were arrested, while national team defender Domenico Criscito’s room was searched at Italy’s Euro 2012 training camp, as part of the probe. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN

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ROME (AP) — Italian authorities swept through the Italy national team training site near Florence Monday and made more than a dozen arrests, including Lazio captain Stefano Mauri, elsewhere as part of a wide-ranging investigation into match-fixing in soccer.

The Italian soccer federation said Mauri was one of 14 people arrested.

The coach of Italian champion Juventus, Antonio Conte, was placed under investigation for alleged wrongdoing while coach of Siena.

“Conte’s reaction is that of someone who’s completely innocent and strongly determined to prove his total innocence,” Conte’s lawyer, Antonio De Rencis, said.

Siena president Massimo Mezzaroma has also been placed under investigation.

Police are also investigating Italy and Zenit St. Petersburg defender Domenico Criscito a week before the national team leaves for the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine. Two police cars arrived at the national team’s training site at around 6:25am local time and left more than two hours later. Criscito’s house in Genoa was also searched.

Criscito, who did not take part in Italy’s training session, has reportedly asked to be heard by the authorities as soon as possible.

Action has been taken against 19 people, 11 of whom are soccer or former soccer players — 14 have been arrested, three have been placed under house arrest and two others are to present themselves to authorities.

“It’s devastating news,” former Italy and current Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni said. “If the authorities are acting it’s because there’s something there.”

Mauri has been accused of sporting fraud. Most of the footballers accused now play in Serie B or lower leagues, although Omar Milanetto spent five years at Genoa before joining Padova in 2011.

Numerous others have had their houses searched, including Chievo Verona’s Sergio Pellissier.

More than 50 people have now been arrested in Italy in the past year as part of the probe started by judicial authorities in Cremona.

Former Atalanta captain Cristiano Doni was banned from football for three and a half years last summer, and former Lazio captain Giuseppe Signori was also arrested.

Serie A clubs Atalanta, Novara and Siena were among the 22 Italian teams notified at the beginning of this month that they are being investigated by sports authorities.

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.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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