Football: Italian federation starts bribe probe

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A MATCH-FIXING investigation into last Sunday's Serie A game between relegation-threatened Venezia and mid-table Bari has been launched by the Italian football federation.

Venezia won 2-1 but their Brazilian striker Tuta, who scored the last- minute winner, claimed he was told by team-mates to play for a 1-1 draw.

Tuta said: "Yes, [Filippo] Maniero told me 1-1 was good. He told me before the move [that led to the goal]." Tuta said he did not reply. He added: "I wasn't happy because I wanted to score. Afterwards I didn't talk to anyone. I don't know why he said it. In Brazil when you play at home you try to win."

Shortly after the final whistle, as Tuta entered the tunnel, a Bari player greeted him with what appeared to be ironic applause. The Brazilian lashed out and had to be held back.

Maniero said it was a misunderstanding. He claimed: "I told him to be careful because at that point a 1-1 draw would have been OK. We were tired and we knew if we conceded another goal it would be difficult to recover."

A Czech player who attempted to bribe a Hungarian opponent has been banned from European matches until 31 December, Uefa's disciplinary committee announced yesterday. Pavel Mraz was playing for Sliema Wanderers of Malta at the time but has since been transferred to Valletta.

The incident happened when Sliema played the Hungarians, Diosgyori, in the Intertoto Cup last June. Uefa said Mraz attempted to bribe the Hungarian team's goalkeeper - a Slovakian, Julius Nota - before the second leg of their qualifying round match. Diosgyori had won the first leg 2-0 and won the second leg 3-2 in Malta to advance 5-2 on aggregate.