Saturday August 13 2011
Atalanta players stand by Doni

Atalanta players have backed Cristiano Doni and Thomas Manfredini, who were banned in a betting scandal. “We cannot believe they're involved.”

The two stars were suspended for three years due to the betting scandal and alleged match-fixing, which also means Atalanta will start the new Serie A season from -6 points.

“With the utmost respect for those who must judge this situation, we intend to reaffirm our sincere solidarity and total faith in Cristiano and Thomas,” read a statement from the rest of the squad.

“They are two exemplary players within our group for their spirit of sacrifice, dedication to work and caring about the club.

“Our two teammates gave a decisive contribution to our promotion into Serie A. We cannot believe they're involved in all of this. We cannot believe their careers, images and the lives of two men we know so well can be damaged forever.

“We are convinced the appeal will recognise they had nothing to do with this. We also want to express our anger at those who put our very promotion into doubt, as it was thoroughly deserved.

“The fans know we will honour the shirt, the city, the supporters and our two teammates who were publicly treated as if guilty from the start. Forza Cristiano. Forza Thomas. Forza Atalanta.”