Suspect betting on Italian games prompts new Uefa investigation

Click to follow

Uefa is studying "unusual" betting patterns and outcomes in four recent matches in Italian football as part of a new probe into match-fixing that investigators believe has roots in Italy but could have links to Asia, The Independent can reveal.

The governing body is already involved in the ongoing attempted elimination of a Croatia-based, pan-European match-fixing ring. Most recently that purge led to 46 arrests in Turkey on Wednesday, including arrests of players and coaches.

But informed sources in the bookmaking industry in Europe and Asia have told The Independent that four Italian matches are being looked at as part of a separate fixing investigation. "It's worrying because it's a completely new front, and any hint of a link to Asian fixers would add a sinister new dimension," one source said.

Bookies across Europe suspended bets last midweek on Sunday's game in Serie A between Chievo and Catania after more than £2m was wagered on a draw, and hundreds of thousands of pounds on 1-1 specifically. The result was 1-1, with a dubious penalty among the irregularities.

Now Uefa and the Italian authorities are also looking at three other games, all played in Serie B last month. Uefa was tipped off by bookmakers after suspect betting patterns on the games in February between Gallipoli and Grosseto, Grosseto v Cittadella, and Salernitana v Triestina.

"It's true, we're looking at four games in Italy," a senior investigative source said yesterday. "Chievo-Catania is in a situation [of severity] on its own. We have never seen volumes like this before. It needs explaining."

Italian investigators are working on the hypothesis that the Serie A and Serie B games are "Italian business" and not linked in any way to the pan-European fixing."But sizable sums were traded on the Asian markets, mainly on the Chievo game," one source said. "It was known in Asia, well ahead of that game, that 1-1 was going down. That has to be a concern."