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July 2021

Match fixing: the police move in a surprise dawn raid

By Tony Attwood

Would you believe it.   A week or so ago, while I was staying in Antwerp with Walter, we sat down together to look at an article which would outline just how one would go about fixing football matches.  There was no allegation that match fixing was taking place, but rather, if you wanted to do it, this is what you might do.

This morning I wrote the article up and posted it.  Now at lunchtime I discover that all hell has broken loose as the police have moved into the Italian national  team’s training camp ahead of the Euros to let defender Domenico Criscito know he is under investigation for match fixing.

That is the coincidence – but for the rest – it doesn’t look as if the people under investigation were doing what I suggested.  But still it is a strange coincidence.

10 other players, some of them top guys like the captain of  Lazio were put under investigation, along with nine non-players including the manager of Juventus – who had two championships removed after match fixing investigations.  They recently started a campaign to claim those two removed championships back, claiming that they had won them – and actually celebrated doing so when they won the league this past season.

This latest event was a good old-fashioned dawn raid but a lot of it focussed on gambling (especially in the case of Domenico Criscito of Genoa).  And not just a dawn raid, a dawn raid just before the Euros.   This was a surprise, since until now most of the action has focussed on Serie B matches.

Omar Milanetto, the former captain of Genoa was arrested, along with Christian Bertani of Sampdoria,  plus the guys who are said to have paid players to lose games.

For balance (the sort of balance Untold is famed for!) I must report that the Juventus manager’s lawyer said, “Conte’s reaction is that of someone who’s completely innocent and strongly determined to prove his total innocence.”

What is interesting is that the investigation is turning up all sorts of people.  When the last big scandal hit, five clubs (I think) were found guilty and got points deductions.  Now it is as if those not involved last time around are thinking that they are missing out and so have demanded a seat at the crooks’ table.  Siena president Massimo Mezzaroma for example has  been placed under investigation – I don’t remember Siena getting involved last time.

“The searches are connected to what’s happening with Siena,” said Cremona prosecutor Roberto Di Martino. “There are seven, eight games being looked at and there have been statements that make us think they were manipulated. The searches involved players, coaches and directors of the club, including Conte and Mezzaroma.”

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There are many in Italy who like to say that such events don’t mean much – just as there are many in England who say that just because Untold can show some oddities in the ways games turn out it doesn’t mean much.  There are even some who suggest that we wouldn’t worry, if Arsenal benefited from match fixingand only complain because we don’t win the league  – a sort of “I’m in the moral gutter and you would join me if you had half the chance” approach which I find both repugnant and bizarre.

But to be fair, this even in Italy is just a notice of investigation, nor a guilty verdict.  However it is a widespread investigation and seems now to include Lazio, Napoli, Sampdoria, Brescia, Bari, Lecce, Palermo, and Genoa.

And here’s a bit more.  La Repubblica reports today that there is a special interest in a meeting from a year ago in Genoa when players met with members of the club’s Ultra movement and a Bosnian criminal, which also implicates the trans-European gang The Gypsies.

Magistrates have been issuing arrest warrants for a year as part of the investigation and the sporting tribunal in Italy is convicting players before they even get to criminal trials.  And at the end of this month a trial will start of 22 clubs, 52 players and 33 matches.

So the long and the short is that this is not 2006 Calciopoli all over again – this is not ref fixing but match-fixing.

The ceaseless work of the referees who report back to Untold on ref decisions in the Premier League show statically that there is something wrong – and thus far it doesn’t look like it is similar to the current round of problems in Italy.

How to fix football matches

34 comments to Match fixing: the police move in a surprise dawn raid

  • Family Enclosure Man

    Personally, I reckon this is just a ploy to make sure Italy win the Euros: seems like every time there is a major Italian football corruption scandal prior to an international tournament they win it (ie, 1982 and 2006 world cups). Seriously, though, corruption in football – including England – is something I wonder about. I suspect there is more going on than meets the eye, and you may be on to something with this campaign of yours (if that’s what it is).

  • Trennon

    What about the Prem?? We all know there is corruption in our game. We can see it week in and week out. No one is that consistently bad at getting decisions wrong, especially when its always the same clubs benefiting and the same clubs suffering. I can’t wait for the scandals to break in England. I just cannot wait and it can’t come soon enough!!

  • Sammy The Snake

    Italy, known for corruption, is taking action… while the English society/police are fast asleep!

  • Steve Palmer

    We like to think that Arsenal,. because of the way its run and steeped history that we are outsiders looking into what might be happening, but match fixing could be happening here as easily as anywhere else Champions league for 15 years top four for all those years. There is the same money to be earned for a place, you don’t always have to win. 🙂

  • critic

    At least italy’s authorities are trying very hard to clean the game. U guys should write an article appreciating italy’s admin.

    It happens everywhere and is 100% happening in england and authorities are sleeping/ignoring bcoz it may tarnish der reputation.

    Whereas italy’s football is called corrupt coz authorities are actively doing there job. That’s the case of victim being victimised. That’s really sad.

  • critic

    Steve palmer i agree with u. Some of d arsenal may be involved. That’s why der should be a thorough investigation.

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    Anything is possible Mr.Palmer and one should not ignore signs that could point to AFC’s involvement in match-fixing if they exist and can be proven BUT ,as far as can be determined, there doesn’t seem to be any reasons AFC have remained in the top 4 and been in the CL for 15 years other than that:

    1)They do tend to win enough games by their sheer skills and willpower each season to keep them in the top 4 and the CL, since Wenger’s arrival,

    2)The officials, if we have been trying to bribe them, have totally failed to help us win anything. Quite the contrary in fact…we have lost opportunities through incompetent and sometimes biased officiating. Just this season, we NEVER had one home penalty awarded to us…no other EPL team were so ¨fortunate¨!

    3)Perhaps Wenger, since his arrival, has been tapping up and bunging other teams like a Machiavellian super-villain, but there is no evidence whatsoever to support this. The Board and the owner are, as yet, innocent of any similar accusations…none of which have ever been proposed….and therefore innocent until proven guilty no?

    4)Perhaps EUFA and FIFA, as well as the FA and the PGMOL, along with the media have somehow contrived to ¨promote¨ the cause of Arsenal to ensure they remain a top world-class Club? Well EUFA have fined Mr.Wenger enough money to bribe a few administrators, but this is simply pocket-change to what our noble FIFA management usually expect so no satisfaction there….sorry! The FA surely must be in Arsene’s back pocket and the PGMOL must also be in connivance with AFC by ensuring that we get the best schedule we need to win and the best officials who will assist our cause. Opps, wait a minute, I am confusing AFC with United, but that is understandable as both teams play in the EPL!

  • tim

    martin fulop comes to mind this season, playing like an idiot in goal and gifting you your 3rd place, then there was the food poisoning incident, very funny on the forums, but what if one of the players had a reaction to the cause, and died, not so funny then, and spurs asked the pl to rearrange the match, and what happens, they say no, and where is the pl pratt, hes sitting in your ground watching you take the cl spot from spurs, who are struggling to get through the match with west ham, yes there is fixing in the english game, you would have to be naive to think not, theres so much money involved now, these teams cant afford to lose the cl spots, its not only italy and europe, the english is as well, but the pl people wont investigate or do anything, unlike the other countrys officials, who have found the fixing, and acted on it, that says it all really doesnt it.

  • i have always thought there was a reason for the PGMOB using only 16 referees in such a fast-paced league. the lower numbers are easier to control. oops, they now have only 15 since dowd was unable to get his paunch across the line in time.

  • Once again Italy is in the spot light for Match fixing, No wonder why they lost the their fourth Champions League spot to the Bundesliga as it’s clear that the league is falling with these sorts of things.

  • Mahdain

    @Mike why wasnt it Dean instead? Would rather he was the one in danger of gett the chop instead of Dowd

  • Arsenal1Again

    Match fixing? Go look at the match again between Italy and S.Korea in the 2002 World Cup.

    The most shocking match I’ve seen. Never in another match will you see so many legitimate goals disallowed. Italy were completely raped by the ref in this match and his assistants on the touchline.

    There is reputaion for corruption in Italian Football like there is in France, but this makes it an easy thing to see when so many people are looking for it.

  • tim

    very balanced views on this site, and thats good to see, the premier league are in football for one thing only, MONEY, they let anyone buy the clubs, with no proper checking of their credentials, as we have seen with certain clubs, we know who, no rules in place for dodgy transfers, tevez, example, swept under carpet, and many others.
    pl spokesperson comes on tv and radio, stating there is 100% no corruption in the pl, yeah and pigs fly.

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    Ohhhhhhhhhhh Tiny Totts Timmy……..where do I begin?

    1)¨Martin fulop comes to mind this season, playing like an idiot in goal and gifting you your 3rd place¨…SO? Fulop was, afterall, one of your Spuds graduates and isn’t that enough to explain his incompetence without reverting to a mystical explanation like match fixing? I suppose you believe in UFO’s and alien abductions as well being a Spudscum tiny Tott Tim?

    2)The food poisoning fabrication (but you believe in aliens don’t you) was your Spudscum’s unimaginative attempt to explain away an off day for the sad Spuds. When they beat us it is because they were a better team on the day, nothing else…but you can’t accept that we’re better…try getting a DVD made of the poisoning scandal with Arry & his dog making Lasagna!

    3)At least we agree here….You are NAIVE … but at least you admit to the possibility of corruption in the EPL…however you got the likely perpetrators wrong….but then you can neither spell nor think so I can’t fault you too much for your ignorance and errors what with you being a Spuds supporter Tiny Totts Timmy!

    If you want to post on this blog, at least learn to write coherently and please try to think clearly before you put both feet into your large gob mate!

  • @Domhuaille MacMathghamhna – Come on man… you’re being a little harsh – I’ve had to put up with all the ‘tin foil hat’ jibes for years, besides that West Brom game was a bit suss IMHO.

  • tim

    wow are you kidding me, told off for spelling one word wrong, sorry teacher, and all i was doing was pointing at some examples, of fixing POSSIBLY, by arsenal, from past events, they were asking, so i obliged.

  • @tim It’s a little hard to get past the whole tribal nature of football sometimes. I wrote pre-match about the WBR Vs ARS match and how I thought the result might be preordained:

  • Gf60

    @Tim 3.12
    From memory on that lovely day, the spuds left a fit Danny Murphy on the bench and the problem was found to be gastric flu. Which was a bit of a let down. We all loved the thought of Chef Arsene doing his bit with the spud lasagne but it was not so. Funny also that Yossi Benayoun scored and is scoring for us now…he must really dislike you lot. And, as DM says above, who trained Fulop?

  • nicky

    Can’t help but deplore the way in which professional football has developed from the days of mainly local fervour, to big business (world-wide in some cases). The obscenity of match-fixing and referee corruption appears to be well established but is difficult to prove.
    To me, I find the culprit was spawned with the advent of satellite television, its associated advertising and the inevitable “licence to print money”.
    The Manager who said that “football was more important than life or death” wasn’t far off the truth when one considers the shenanigans going on in the game today.
    A sad reflection is that both FIFA or UEFA have failed to win the confidence of Clubs and fans alike. The two bodies, who should be “whiter than white” are anything but that and a clean-up of their act is long overdue.
    On the horizon we do have the impending introduction of the FFP Rules although murmurings are already about how the Big Boys and their legal whizzkids will overcome them.
    So there you have it, a pretty poor outlook, corruption is winning the battle but what about the war?
    All I can foresee is the chance of the bubble bursting in some catastrophic way, perhaps as a result of the current economic downturn.
    A nasty outlook but a chance to put matters right,

  • tim

    martin fulop couldnt play in a sunday league team, and should never have been on the pitch against you, for west brom, in that crucial match, why do you think spurs got rid of him, he is not good enough.
    naive is spelled right, how do you spell it.

  • nicky

    In case my comment above is thought to be a trifle depressing, I append the following cheery story involving my 94-year old great grandfather.
    When he was asked what he thought about a ‘phone mast being erected down the road from his house, he enquired “Will it make me sterile?”

  • Cent

    @tim you might want to know that the Hotel at which your team ate has proved in a law court that the food they served your team was not poisoned and it has also been proven that a member of your team contacted a virus which he passed on to his teammates,so basically your team performed poorly cos of a virus and not food poisoning.
    As for Fulop the Great,he is your Ex player,i heard he feels he wasnt treated fairly by you guys,maybe that’s why he decided to help us out,so you guys should treat Modric and Bale well before selling them this summer to avoid another Fulop incident.

  • tim

    modric most probably leaving, bale is staying.

  • none

    This is more for Anne as part of her Media watch.

    There is an interesting comment

    At least Italy is confronting the issue.

    The academic, Simon Martin, teaches at the University of Rome, and has written extensively about Italy as seen through the country’s passion for sport.

    And he argues that at least part of the reason why corruption endures in football here is that, in the past, punishments for match-fixing have been too light – and too readily reduced on appeal.

    “No-one pays for these crimes,” he said.

    “And if crimes don’t have to be paid for, then in some ways you can understand why a footballer might want to take that potentially life-changing opportunity because, at the worst, he’s going to get a two-year ban, which he can appeal.”

    So surely this needs to have a follow up question? If this can happen in a major league such as Serie A, does this leave other leagues open to this kind of manipulation?

    It shocks me that the BBC can spend taxpayers money on reporting Italian issues but yet fail to follow this up with question about what is happening in the UK and other European leagues.

  • Shard


    I, for one, am completely open to the possibility of Arsenal benefiting from a fix as well. We are, after all a big club (sorry, couldn’t resist that jibe :P) And as a big club we are bound to have somebody big (or fat) having something invested in us that they would want to protect. However, it’ll take more than 2 unrelated occurrences 6 years apart to convince me. Spurs slipped up both times. It is what Spurs do best, it would appear. Although, if you lot hadn’t fired Martin Jol, I think you might have had more CL football over the years. Perhaps even at Arsenal’s cost. I congratulate the Spurs’ board and owners, and hope they stick with ‘Arry for long. His ‘record’ speaks for itself (whenever he’s not speaking about himself out of car windows)

  • tim

    thats in the past now shard, i have got over it now, it was only examples i brought up, for the above people, but i cant believe, a professional goalkeeper could play that badly, for all 3 goals, martin flop as we called him, could he have thrown the game to spite spurs, you would hope not, but he was more than bad wasn’t he, and it did cost spurs, i just could not believe that 3rd one, a pure gift.

  • Shard


    I assure you. A professional GK CAN play that poorly. Ask Arsenal fans, especially the more depressive kind, and they’ll tell you stories about Almunia and Fabiansky. Even Fabian Barthez had his moments of madness, and he was counted as among the best GKs in the world at the time. Fulop at least is a backup goalie and as per what was revealed at least, didn’t expect to play in the game until 10 mins before kickoff. He was mentally, probably already planning his holiday. I think that makes more logical sense. AT least until there’s a pattern I’m missing at this point.

  • Mandy Dodd

    At least Italy is trying to clear it up…yes very true. This story may come to nothing, or it may be huge, if it it the latter, I doubt it will be confined to Italy…investigations could lead to some awkward questions for other European leagues, who knows where this could go.

  • Adam

    Dawn who, And why have we never heard of her before.

  • doanythingformoney

    @ none
    The Italian corruption is probably instigated by outsiders- mafia types. They need and use insiders (players). Here we have a much different problem. We have organasional insiders involved in game bending. No players need be ‘directly’ involved- (the open-season to kick Arsenal is after all a ref-granted facility, not player instigated). Refs, as Untold and others have shown, can bend matches and if they are allowed to get away with it- then we must assume they are being encouraged or even ordered to do it. And if the media, punditry and press- all of whom cannot possibly be stupid enough to miss it- also turn a blind eye, we have to assume it is being orchestrated at a very high level indeed- high enough and powerful enough to control ALL the so called bastions of our society and render them impotent- at least in this case.
    The Italian smoking gun seems to be outside the game. When Arsenal and other clubs are ‘punished’ or ‘helped’ the gun is either well hidden or well covered-up- inside. If there is a spin-off from @Anne’s latest research and it is correct that- ‘there is a vendetta to try to force Arsenal to spend money and get into debt like all the other clubs’- then the chances are- it is coming from the very same source, because once again- punditry, media and Press were all singing from the same hymn sheet and stopped together at the same time!
    Let me leave you with one enigmatic question. Assume that the impending ‘fair play’ rules have also something to do with the smoking gun– which ultra-powerful, all-contolling, group have the most to fear if Arsenal can remain competitive whilst also balancing their books? The answer to that question may well show who is forcing ‘it’ to be done!

  • Interesting piece. It’s incredible how many Poirot’s and Inspector Clouseau’s we have on here. Remarkable.
    Do you think the money you pay for your season tickets or other tickets to watch games is enough to fund the luxury lifestyles of the leagues and players? NO! Do you think all the television rights etc is enough to fund their 200k a week salaries? you do the simple maths, NO! If corruption wasn’t prevalent, football will actually be effed! The Italian’s are too passionate and stupid about how they go about it, just like their economy that’s the difference between them and everyone else. Look at how bad the UK economy is compared to theirs but somehow we’re covering it up so beautifully and nicely but pure greed and stupidity has left them open to the feds!!

    Anyway don’t be surprised to see Arsenal winning the FA Cup this year with the FA’s approval.

  • Stuart

    If there is match fixing to be found in the EPL, would it be possible that it comes from overseas? Who would benefit from Arsenal not making the Champions league for example?

  • SouthernGunner

    @ Stuart

    Just speculating, but perhaps certain billionaire owners of other clubs have somethingg to gain? If you’re spending untold millions just on players, then whose to say some of your money isn’t going elsewhere?

    As an aside, there’s been a lot of controversy regarding the 2018 & 2022 World Cups being awarded to Russia & Qatar. Bit of a coincidence that both those countries have nationals who are billionaire owners of a Premier League club and a Ligue 1 club.