New plans have been unveiled by Italy's Interior Minister Roberto Maroni to launch a task force to counter corruption in football, after match-fixing allegations resulted in the arrest of 16 people last week.
The task force will include Interior Ministry politicians, finance police and administrators from various sporting governing bodies. It is scheduled to meet for the first time next week, Reuters reported.
We have analyzed what has taken place in the last few days in football betting and we have tried to work out ways of preventing it occurring again, Maroni told reporters on Friday, after a meeting with Giancarlo Abete, president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), and Gianni Petrucci, Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) president.
We have therefore decided to create an investigative unit with the purpose of collecting information and assessing any signs of foul play emanating from bookmakers and others, Maroni added. He also suggested a similar body be formed at European level.
Last week, a nationwide police swoop headed by Cremona's flying squad led to the arrest of 16 people, including former Italy and Lazio striker Giuseppe Signori. They were accused of belonging to an alleged betting and match-fixing ring, with current and recently retired players believed to be among the ringleaders.
However, Signori denied any involvement in the latest match-fixing scandal to hit Italian football when he was interrogated by a judge on Wednesday.
Another 28, including Atalanta captain Cristiano Doni, were under investigation with allegations centering on 18 games from Serie B and Italy's lower divisions, the report said. Doni denied any wrongdoing.
Maroni's intervention has been welcomed by Abete, who launched a sporting judicial inquiry into betting allegations involving Atalanta and Siena.
These are the latest allegations of corruption in Italian football, which was rocked by the Calciopoli scandal five years ago. The 2006 Calciopoli scandal revolved around securing favourable referees.
The sporting courts demoted Juventus, and they were stripped of their 2005 and 2006 titles.
According to prosecutors, former Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi, if found guilty, will serve five years and eight months in jail.