May 30, 2012
"I’m not making a proposal and even less so a governmental one but it is something that sometimes I wish for as someone who has loved football for many years" ... Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. Photo: AP
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has suggested football should be suspended for two to three years in the wake of the latest match-fixing scandal.
"I'm not making a proposal and even less so a governmental one but it is something that sometimes I wish for as someone who has loved football for many years," he said during a meeting with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Tuesday.
"Maybe it would benefit the development of our citizens to have a total suspension of this game for two or three years.
"It's particularly sad when a world, such as sport, that should express high values is guilty of the most reprehensible ones such as treachery, illegality and deceit."
Italy's footballers travel to Poland in less than a week to take part in the European championships but their preparations were thrown into turmoil after police on Monday made a series of dawn raids as part of a match-fixing investigation.
Investigators even searched the room of national team defender Domenico Criscito at the team hotel near Florence while elsewhere around the country, 19 people, including Lazio captain Stefano Mauri, were arrested.
Criscito, later left out of coach Cesare Prandelli's squad, said he has done nothing wrong. Mauri and Lazio also deny any impropriety.
The corruption allegations are the latest to hit Italian football and the third time in just over 30 years that the sport has been dragged through the mud.
In 1980 top teams including AC Milan and Lazio were relegated from the top flight for their part in the "Totonero" match-fixing affair.
Then in 2006 Juventus suffered the same fate and were also stripped of their 2005 and 2006 Serie A crowns for trying to influence the referees' commission.
This time the "Calcioscommesse" or football-betting scandal has mostly affected teams and players outside the first division.
But Atalanta were deducted six points before the season began for their role while Siena and their president Massimo Mezzaroma have also been accused of involvement.
However, all that stems from last season when both teams were Serie B.