Gattuso under match-fixing probe

Gattuso under match-fixing probe

Gattuso under match-fixing probe

Former Italy international and AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso is under investigation on suspicion of being part of a match-fixing operation affecting dozens of Serie A games, justice system officials said on Tuesday.

Police also arrested four individuals in connection with the case which is believed to have involved more than 30 matches stretching back to 2009.

Gattuso, a World Cup winner with Italy in 2006, has not responded directly but his agent Andrea D’Amico told Italian television stations that the investigation came “like a bolt from the blue”.

“Rino was out and now he has come back home. We need to wait to understand more. His lawyers are in contact with the prosecutor,” D’Amico said.

Gattuso, 35, twice won the Champions League with Milan. He was sacked as manager by Serie B Palermo in September after a string of bad results. Former Lazio, AC Milan and Inter Milan player Cristian Brocchi is also being investigated, officials said.

“It was a big surprise, we're all quite shocked. I've known Cristian for years and I think he's got nothing to do with any of this,” Brocchi’s agent Davide Lippi told SkyTG24 television. “Cristian is calm about it,”  he said.

Cremona chief prosecutor Roberto Di Martino told a news conference that investigators had identified telephone and SMS contacts between go-betweens and a number of players or individuals connected with teams ahead of the matches.

The latest arrests and searches come after a three-year investigation which has produced evidence of an organised system among former and current footballers, sports betting operators and others to manipulate the result of dozens of soccer matches.

Prosecutors say bets worth tens of thousands of euros, and in some cases hundreds of thousands, have been placed on both the top-flight Serie A and Serie B matches.

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