Italian players charged after match-fixing probe

July 4, 2008

ROME, July 4 (Reuters) - Five players have been charged over alleged match-fixing in last season's home and away Serie A fixtures between Atalanta and relegated Livorno, Italy's football federation (FIGC) said on Friday.

Atalanta's Gian Paolo Bellini and former Livorno captain David Balleri have been charged with seeking to fix the results of the games on Dec 23, which ended in a 1-1 draw, and May 4, which Atalanta won 3-2, the FIGC said.

Livorno brothers Emanuele and Antonio Filippini, along with team mate Alessandro Grandoni, have also been reported by the federation's prosecutor to the national disciplinary commission for a failure to inform the authorities about the events.

The two clubs were also reported to the commission over the behaviour of their players.

'I don't think there was any type of agreement at all,' Luigi Del Neri, the coach of Bergamo-based Atalanta, was quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport's website. 'Atalanta played to win, as always.'

Italian soccer has only just got over the 2006 match-fixing scandal, which led to Juventus being relegated to Serie B and AC Milan, Lazio, Fiorentina and Reggina being deducted league points.

Juventus, whose former general manager Luciano Moggi was accused of being at the centre of attempts to secure compliant referees for some teams' games, won promotion back to Serie A at the first attempt and finished third last season to win a place in the Champions League qualifiers.