FOOTBALL Bonucci could face three-and-a-half year ban
Italian football bosses call for suspension during Calcioscommesse trial
Rome: Juventus and Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci could face a three-and-a-half year ban and teammate Simone Pepe one year following a request by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) prosecutor in the country’s match-fixing scandal.
On the third day of a hearing into the Calcioscommesse scandal, FIGC prosecutor Stefano Palazzi also requested a two-point deduction for Bologna and demotion to the third tier for Lecce, who were relegated from Serie A last season.
Marco Di Vaio, formerly of Bologna and now with Montreal Impact, has also had a one-year ban proposed by Palazzi while several other players could face between three- and four-year bans.
Bonucci and Pepe both played key roles as Juventus won Serie A last season.
Bonucci, who also helped Italy reach the Euro 2012 final, is accused of helping to fix the result of a match when he played for Bari in May 2010.
The game against Udinese ended 3-3.
Pepe, who was playing for Udinese in the same match, faces a lesser charge of failing to report the alleged fix. Both players deny wrongdoing.
The FIGC said its tribunal aimed to reach a verdict before the end of next week.
The news is likely to infuriate Juventus, already livid over the rejection of coach Antonio Conte’s plea bargain of a three-month ban.
Conte, who led Juventus to the Serie A title last season, is accused of failing to report match-fixing in two games in the 2010-11 season when he was coach of Siena, then in Serie B. He will now go to a full sporting trial.
Earlier on Friday, former Bari defender Andrea Masiello, now with Atalanta, was banned for 26 months on Friday for his part in the latest match-fixing to hit Italian football.
Promoted Sampdoria were docked one point for the forthcoming Serie A campaign and fined €30,000 (Dh134,977)) and Bari, who play in Serie B, were docked five points and fined €80,000.
Former Bari team mates Alessandro Parisi, Marco Rossi and Marco Esposito were also suspended.
Parisi, who played for Torino in Serie B last season and is now a free agent, will serve a two-year ban, Rossi one year and eight months and Esposito three months and 10 days. The trio were also fined.
Attention focused on several Bari games in the 2010-11 season, when the team was still in Serie A, including one in May last year against local rivals Lecce. Bari, already relegated, lost that match 2-0 with Masiello scoring an own goal in the 80th minute.
Prosecutors believe an international gambling ring paid players to throw matches. Dozens of current and former players in teams ranging from the Serie A top division down to the lower leagues may have been involved, according to investigators.
In total, 13 clubs and 45 players and training staff are facing disciplinary charges over the latest match-fixing allegations.
The “Calcioscommesse” scandal echoes earlier match-fixing cases which tarnished Italian soccer in the 1980s and before the 2006 World Cup.
Siena had six points deducted on Thursday, a penalty which will also be applied in the 2012-13 season.