…you’d be correct. It’s been reported that the Bari defender took 180,000 euros last to score the goal against his own team in a bitterly-contested relegation battle involving Lecce, a club that finished only five points above the drop zone. Lecce “won” the game 2-0 in May of last year against the already sent-down Bari. Apparently some team-mates feared they would not get paid at the time.
He’s now been arrested, and eight other Bari players are also under scrutiny as part of an on-going investigation in Italian match-fixing by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC):
In June last year, the Interior Ministry set up a special match-fixing task force in response to a number of high-profile cases. The former Atalanta captain and Italy midfielder Cristiano Doni was banned for three and a half years in August for his part in the “Calcioscommesse” match-fixing scandal involving Serie B games last season.
Atalanta, promoted from Serie B, were deducted six points in the top flight this season as a result, while the former Lazio and Italy striker Giuseppe Signori was banned for five years and 15 other players were banned for between one and five years for their part in the same scandal.
The seriousness of this investigation cannot be understated. Well-regarded Italian football writer Rocco Cammisola alerted me a little while ago over the “worst-case” scenario when all the dirty laundry is finally aired:
@RWhittall Lazio relegated is one. Bari sent down further. Lecce punished despite achieving survival. Whole half-season rendered pointless.
— Rocco (@rcammisola) March 28, 2012
We’ll track this story as it progresses, and cheers to KJ for giving me the heads up on this!