Juventus coach Antonio Conte is under investigation and Lazio captain Stefano Mauri has been arrested as part of an Italian police probe into a widening match-fixing scandal, officials said on Monday.
Police in Cremona said they had made 19 arrests and were investigating Conte, who this month led Juve to the Serie A title for the first time since the club were stripped of the 2005 and 2006 titles.
Conte is being investigated on suspicion of sporting fraud and fraudulent association over allegations concerning a match between his previous club Siena and Novara in April 2011. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing involving Juve.
Monday’s raids by around 280 police in 23 cities cast a further shadow over Italian soccer which has still not fully recovered from the 2006 “Calciopoli” match-fixing scandal which saw Juve stripped of the title and dumped into the second division.
Police arrested Mauri and former Genoa midfielder Omar Milanetto, now with Serie B side Padova.
All the arrests were in connection with fixtures last season between Lecce and Lazio, and Lazio and Genoa.
Di Martino said there was an “absolute superabundance” of evidence about the Lecce-Lazio match. He added gamblers appeared to win around two million euros ($2.50 million) on the game and paid 600,000 euros to bribe the players.
Conte’s involvement in the investigation, following mounting media speculation he would be dragged in, was a big blow to Juve after a spectacular season when the team were unbeaten until they lost the Italian Cup final to Napoli on May 20.
The coach’s lawyer Antonio De Rencis denied Conte, whose contract was renewed last week until 2015, was involved in match-fixing.
“Conte’s reaction is one of someone who is completely outside this and determined to prove he has nothing to do with what has been alleged,” the lawyer told Gazzetta dello Sport.