Stefano Mauri remains in prison, but his lawyer insists the Lazio captain “only placed bets on basketball and tennis.”
The midfielder was arrested in a dawn raid on Monday as the investigation into a betting and match-fixing scandal developed.
“Mauri was afraid of compromising his reputation by looking like a gambler, so he asked his friend Luca Aureli to place bets on the NBA and tennis in privacy,” explained lawyer Simone Colangeli.
It is only illegal for football players to place bets on their own sport, so Mauri would be breaking no rules.
“In order to organise those bets, Mauri received from Aureli a SIM card bought by his girlfriend, Samanta Romano.
“It seems obvious that, if there were illegal reasons behind it, Aureli would not have handed over a SIM card that was so easy to trace back to him.
“The phone calls with the Lazio captain were frequent because they are close friends. Any rapport with the betting syndicate is denied and police can clearly see there were no anomalous betting patterns at the agency he used.”
Meanwhile, Mauri’s legal team is trying to push for his release from a jail cell.
“We are waiting, just as you are, as the magistrates are busy with other interrogations and therefore haven’t had the chance to evaluate when Mauri will be released,” lawyer Matteo Melandri told Radio Sei.
“It seems as if everything will slide to Monday. Stefano cannot tell them any more than he already has. We are confident that keeping him in a cell is unnecessary and, if the evidence presented to us is really the basis of the arrest, then there isn’t much there.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!