Wednesday June 1 2011
Drinks spiked in betting scandal?

There are some bizarre allegations after 16 people, including Beppe Signori, were arrested in a betting scandal, including Inter-Lecce and drugged players.

This morning police swooped in several cities to break up what they claim is a betting ring that was involved in match-fixing, bribery, intimidation and even spiking drinks.

Former Lazio star Signori was named as the ‘ringleader' by the court order and is now under house arrest, while others include Ascoli players Vincenzo Sommese and Vittorio Micolucci.

Atalanta captain Cristiano Doni is among those under investigation, but has not been arrested, while former Fiorentina midfielder Mauro Bressan and ex-Bari man Antonio Bellavista are also implicated.

The Cremona public prosecutors allege that at least 18 games between Serie A, B and Lega Pro were involved after examining unusual betting patterns.

According to the paperwork signed by prosecutor Guido Salvini, Signori is “the undisputed leader due to personal prestige in the Bologna area. He is involved in a betting ring on fixed games, placing €150,000 on the Serie A match Inter-Lecce.”

This is an interesting case, as the bets were for at least three goals in that Inter-Lecce game, but it ended 1-0 for the home side.

The result prompted alleged retaliatory attacks on those in the betting ring who had not done enough to ensure the fixture went as ‘planned.'

Brescia-Bologna on April 2 saw unusual betting patterns on a home victory, which emerged 3-1.

Another game pin-pointed was Atalanta's Serie B 3-0 victory over Piacenza, which ended 3-0 on March 19. The prosecutors wrote that “Doni was one of those players who allegedly agreed the result with Piacenza defender Carlo Gervasoni. The second goal was a penalty from Gervasoni's foul on Doni.”

It's also alleged that both teams automatically promoted from Serie B this season, Siena and Atalanta, had games that were part of this betting ring's focus.

Perhaps the most disturbing allegation is that Cremonese players had their drinks spiked ahead of the 2-0 victory over Paganese on November 14, 2010.

Several players and members of staff felt ill during and after the game, with some requiring hospital treatment. It's alleged they were given sleeping draughts.