Italy PM: Maybe pro soccer should be suspended
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti says soccer in his country may need to be suspended for two or three years.
May 29th, 2012
01:07 PM ET

Italy PM: Maybe pro soccer should be suspended

Italy might be better off without soccer for a few years in the wake of new arrests in a match-fixing probe in the top-flight Serie A, Prime Minister Mario Monti said Tuesday.

"Maybe soccer should be suspended for two or three years," Monti said, according to a report from Italy's ANSA news service. "It's not a government proposal, but it's a question we should ask ourselves."

Nineteen people were arrested Monday in the ongoing investigation by magistrates in Cremona. Eleven of those arrested are players in Italy's top division.

"It's particularly sad when a world-like sport, which should express noble values, shows itself to be a concentrate of the most reproachful ones, like unfairness, illegality and fraud," Monti said Tuesday in the ANSA report.

Maurizio Zamparini, owner of the Palermo club, ripped Monti for the suspension suggestion.

“Monti speaks only nonsense. He should think before he speaks. Before he says that we have to ‘stop the game of football,' he should think about his problems and all that he is destroying and he is shutting down with his measures," Zamparini is quoted as saying on the website Football Italia.

Roberto Di Martino, chief prosecutor in the case, said the investigation was spreading beyond Italian borders, with five people arrested in Hungary.

"We have evidence that this Hungarian gang worked to fix in Serie A 2010-11 the games between Bari and Sampdoria, Lecce and Lazio and some others.

"We have different evidence of their presence in Italy and of their contacts with people from Singapore, where the money is coming from."

The arrests are the latest in a long-running saga that has cast a shadow over Italian football. In 2006, the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal saw Juventus relegated to the second tier and stripped of two league titles.

Seventeen people were arrested in a similar swoop last year, the most high profile of which was Atalanta captain Cristiano Doni. He was subsequently banned from the game for three years.

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Filed under: Crime • Gambling • Italy • Soccer • Sports
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. saywhat

    Pro-sports are indeed getting stained with scandals, here too.
    Sports lovers everywhere would be dismayed if that leads to action as proposed by the Italian PM.

    May 29, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    I think that soccer is even more important to Italy than pasta.
    La gente piú simpatica del mondo could live without food, but Italy would not survive without soccer.

    May 29, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    Che significa "legitimate?"
    It's for fun. Giocare.

    May 29, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nishath

    I think you Mr.Prime Minister should be suspended first. There are so many people out there in the world who are corrupt and you sir are intent on punishing a whole league of innocent people for a crime they have not even committed. ABSOLUTE RUBBISH!!

    May 29, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. LupinMugzlyChien

    Signor Monti must be going senile.
    there will always be match fixing and illegal betting in sports, that goes without saying. it doesnt mean you have to suspend it for years. that is just ridiculous.

    May 30, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jubril

    think this dude ought to be locked up in the same room as balotelli

    May 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sarcastic

    People are speeding, people are speeding! Let's outlaw driving! :-)

    May 30, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. magnus

    didnt the italian league have this problem a few years back. clearly they havent solved the problem and the Italian PM is correct to challenge the league. suspend the entire league.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. TerriAnn

    Sports should be banned from public schools here in the states. Huge drain on taxpayer funded school systems that teach kids that only the best get to play and win in life. It's supposed to be all about sportmanship and team work right? ha ha. If you are not the star player then you are "taught" that you are second rate in school sports. Really they do more long term harm than good and I have not even started on the injuries some have for the rest of their lives. Spend the money on what we need in this country...science and math.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      Wow, someone was often picked last in high school. Sports are a wonderful thing, they are an out for many students whose home lives are not that great. It is a reality that many students would not stay in school if it weren't for sports. They help improve confidence in young people and help improve school spirit. But in your mind I guess we should also get rid of PE classes and focus more on science and math and become an even better example of teen obesity!! Health is overrated right?

      May 31, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mahagwa

    as an athlete, i spit on fools who place money over sport.
    i play sports because i thrive on the quest for victory. i do not need my opponent to feint defeat, i want to dominate and crush my opponent, and i want my opponent to be at their very best, such that i earn my victory.
    i say this having (in the past and present) played soccer, football, basketball, and boxing.
    one big problem is the money in sports. if anything, they should ban betting on sports. if you are a fan, sit back and enjoy us play, but ban the betting (that also goes for the us where betting on collegiate and professional sports is a massive business). any time you introduce money, you introduce rot.
    sports is pure, keep it that way. when i coach little kids (soccer, basketball, football) it gives me pride to see them grasp the concepts, gain confidence in their abilities and set out for greatness. let the fat, lazy slobs with bank rolls stay on the side, in their bentleys... we don't need them corrupting something as pure as sports.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:37 am | Report abuse |
  11. shell robinson

    yes it should be suspended you should also investigate the 2nd game bwtween ac milan and jventus milan was robbed
    and it caused them to lose the scudetto.to me milan is the winner of 2012.

    June 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |