Serie A

Lazio confident Mauri will be cleared

Lazio's Stefano Mauri
Lazio skipper Stefano Mauri was arrested Monday as part of a match-fixing investigation.
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ROME, Italy (PA)

Lazio are confident club captain Stefano Mauri will be cleared of any wrongdoing in the Italian match-fixing scandal.

Mauri was one of 19 people arrested by police yesterday in connection with a probe carried out by Cremona prosecutors.

The 32-year-old midfielder is being held over allegations of "criminal association and sporting fraud".

A statement from Lazio read: "SS Lazio, in view of the action taken by the justice authorities of Cremona regarding player Stefano Mauri, wishes to express maximum respect for the work being carried out by the judges and the investigators in the interest of football.

"It trusts that the player will prove his innocence regarding the allegations he is being accused of."

Monday's arrests were part of operation 'Last Bet' which has focused on 33 games over the past two seasons, the majority of which were in Serie B.

Earlier this month, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) released a comprehensive 48-page list naming 22 clubs along with 61 individuals that have been reported to the football authorities in connection with a match-fixing ring and betting investigation.

Among those under investigation is Zenit St Petersburg defender Domenico Criscito.

Criscito, who was a certainty for the Euro 2012 squad, was dropped by Italy yesterday just hours after police questioned the former Genoa star at the Azzurri's training headquarters in Coverciano, Florence.

The latest probe has disrupted the national team's preparation for the European Championship but it is not the first time the Azzurri go into a major tournament under the cloud of a match-fixing scandal.

Italy won the 2006 World Cup in Germany despite the huge distraction of match-fixing revelations which resulted in Juventus being relegated and stripped of two league titles following an investigation into the influencing of referees.

"This time is worse than in 2006, at least for me,'' said Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi, who was a member of the World Cup-winning squad.

"This time is more shocking as the police came to Coverciano and people I know have been arrested."

A trial carried out by a sporting tribunal will begin on Thursday and Lega Serie A president Maurizio Beretta hopes the process will not drag on.

"We hope it will be fast and that drastic punishments are handed out to those individuals that have stained a world that should focus on credibility and transparency," he said.

Among the clubs set to face the tribunal are Serie A outfits Atalanta and Siena.

Atalanta, who had been promoted to Serie A at the end of the 2010/11 season, began the recently-completed campaign with a six-point deduction as punishment for match-fixing.

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