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By ESPN Staff

Italian federation drops investigation of Buffon

ROME -- The Italian soccer federation ended an investigation into alleged illegal betting by Italy's World Cup-winning goalkeeper.

Proceedings against Italy and Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon were dropped, the federation said in a statement Friday. Similar allegations concerning Cagliari goalkeeper Antonio Chimenti, Sevilla midfielder Enzo Maresca and Messina defender Mark Iuliano also were dropped.

Buffon acknowledged he gambled on various sports events and non-Italian soccer games in the past, but said he stopped when the soccer federation banned the practice in November 2005.

The allegations surfaced shortly before the World Cup last summer when several top Italian clubs became embroiled in a match-fixing scandal.

Italy coach Marcello Lippi resisted calls to exclude Buffon from his lineup, and the goalkeeper gave up only an own-goal and a penalty kick during Italy's seven-game World Cup run. Italy beat France in the final on penalty kicks.

Buffon plays in Italy's Serie B after Juventus was demoted in the match-fixing scandal.