ixteen people were arrested in Italy last week for alleged involvement in a match-fixing and betting ring. Some 18 matches — mostly in Serie B and C — are under investigation by prosecutors in Cremona, where the probe is based, and preliminary hearings have suggested Serie A matches could also be involved.
Interior Minister Roberto Maroni unveiled the task force alongside Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Petrucci and Italian football federation president Giancarlo Abete. "Together with Petrucci and Abete we've analyzed what has emerged lately in terms of football match-fixing and we're trying to take action so that this can't be repeated," Maroni said.
"Therefore we've decided to create an investigative unit with the aim of gathering information and evaluating abnormal signals from betting parlours and other sources."
Maroni said there's no point in limiting legal betting because that would trigger more illicit gambling. "Football and sports attract a lot of betting and we're not interested in impeding or limiting that — but regulating it, yes."
Maroni added that the task force will have the power to use police forces, "because we can't exclude the fact that behind this illicit activity lies the hand of organized crime." He said the task force would begin meeting next week, calling it "an immediate reaction from the sports world and the government to what happened."