Former defender Carlo Gervasoni reveals how he organised match-fixing and why he turned witness on others.
Gervasoni is the key witness in the Calcioscommesse investigation and spilled the beans on television to Italia 1 as well.
“I fixed around a dozen games where I was on the pitch, then tried to fix others where I wasn’t playing. It’s complicated to give an exact number of the players I contacted for match-fixing, because there’s still a trial on-going, but I more or less managed to contact 60.
“Out of these 60, only two said no: one was Italian and one foreign. I realised it was more difficult to convince a foreign player to fix a game. The Italians made a problem out of it initially, but then once they had the cash in hand before the game, they found it easier.”
Gervasoni, now 33, played mainly in the lower leagues and in his career featured for Como, Sud Tirol, Hellas Verona, Bari, Albinoleffe, Mantova, Cremonese and Piacenza. He never made it into Serie A.
“I sold games for money, but I can’t say exactly how much I earned. It was a job that earned well, even €15,000 per month.
“I didn’t sleep soundly, but with a positive rush of adrenaline. I’m not a hypocrite, I was wrong and I regret it, but if I did it then it’s fundamentally because I was happy to bring home that much money.
“I’d be a hypocrite to say otherwise. At times I even had to lie to my own teammates, because I’d sometimes throw my own games.”
He was first investigated in June 2011 for fixing games with former Atalanta captain Cristiano Doni and received a seven-year ban.
The ex-defender confessed to fixing games in Serie B and Lega Pro.
Gervasoni also explained how the mechanism worked and his contact with the so-called Clan degli Zingari.
“The first contact with the clan was like courtship, as they took me out to dinner a few times. They bet on specific platforms, Asian betting services, as to avoid the anomalous flow of money being noticed. They only ever bet live in play.
“The clan was very organised, every 20 or 30 days they’d change my telephone SIM card. We only used it to say ‘I’m in,’ as we’d mainly communicate via Skype.
“How do you fix a match? The main structure of a team is fundamental, so obviously if you have the goalkeeper on side then it’s an advantage. With a striker and a defender it becomes much easier.
“Do I have any doubts watching games now? Yes, I see them with different eyes. I decided to speak out to take a weight off my chest, but I have to be honest, if they hadn’t caught me with those telephone wiretaps then I would’ve carried on fixing matches.”