After the tidal wave of footballers that have been banned or punished for breaking the FA’s rules on betting, it seems as if the action has moved overseas too.
Nicolo Fagioli, the Italian international midfielder who has made six appearances for Juventus so far this season, could be in hot water after it was alleged that he placed bets via an illegal bookmaker.
If found guilty, the punishments available range from a meagre fine right through to a three-year ban from football.
All Bets are Off
The rules on betting for professional athletes are somewhat different to those in the UK and many other parts of the world.
Whereas some countries have imposed a blanket ban on betting for those involved in the pro ranks, in Italy no such prohibition is in place. Instead, footballers are allowed to bet as long as a) they don’t wager on football, and b) the bookmakers they place their bets with are legal and licensed in the country.
Although the exact nature of the allegations against Fagioli are unknown, it has been reported that the bets he put on were placed with unlicensed online betting sites.
These illegal sites have become something of a scourge in Italy, with prosecutors alleging that those with Mafia connections have been using unlicensed bookies in order to launder their ill-gotten gains.
Therefore, if Fagioli is found guilty he can expect the book to be thrown at him – that maximum suspension of 36 months would be very tough to take for a 22-year-old that has already made the breakthrough into the Italian national team.
It’s the latest scandal to engulf Juventus, who just last season had ten points deducted by the Serie A after they were found to have knowingly used fraudulent accounting practices. They have since been banned by UEFA from appearing in continental competition during the 2023/24 campaign.
Real Madrid to Sue Ex Police Chief Over Corruption Claim
From one giant of European football to another.
Real Madrid have been dragged into the corruption scandal dogging FC Barcelona and Spanish football after a former police chief claimed their president Florentino Perez had also bribed match officials.
Jose Manuel Villarejo made the sensational claims on a Catalonian radio show where he spoke about similar allegations made against senior officials at Barcelona, who it’s claimed made illicit payments to former referees chief Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira. He said: “All presidents have done it. Florentino Perez too. Somehow, at Real Madrid, before this the same thing had already been detected.
“It is impossible to prosecute anything that involves Perez. It would be suicide for anyone who dares to do so. Florentino is untouchable.”
Real Madrid have rejected all of Villarejo’s allegations, and have confirmed that they will attempt to sue him for the false accusations they claim he has made.
Camp Oh Nou
Barcelona find themselves in the middle of one of the worst corruption scandals to ever impact upon a ‘big five’ league.
They have been accused of ‘systemic corruption’ dating back decades, with the worst of the accusations being that they paid off La Liga’s head of refereeing to ensure that the match officials they were issued with were, shall we say, sympathetic to the results of the Catalan outfit.
Spanish investigators are now well into a formal investigation that will look to ascertain why club officials, including former presidents Josep María Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, paid more than €7 million (£6 million) to shell companies that were owned by Negreira.
At the time of writing, Barca have been charged with a list of alleged wrongdoings that include corruption in sport and in business, false administration and the falsification of commercial documents.
An incredible statement from the prosecutors reads: “Through presidents Rosell and Bartomeu, Barcelona reached and maintained a strictly confidential verbal agreement with the defendant Negreira, so that, in his capacity as vice president of the refereeing committee and in exchange for money, he would carry out actions aimed at favouring Barcelona in the decision making of the referees in the matches played by the club, and thus in the results of the competitions.”
In response, Barcelona have strenuously denied all the charges and claim that the payments were made to an ‘external consultant’, who was tasked with providing the club with technical reports ‘related to professional refereeing’. That’s one expensive consultant….
Potential match fixing has long been a talking point in Spanish football, with numerous sources claiming to have witnessed or known of plots to bribe players and match officials. The most high profile came back in 2015, when one linesman reported an alleged attempt to bribe him in return for favouring Real Madrid in the El Clasico contest with Barcelona.