30 May 2012

PM ponders football scandal

11:04 am on 30 May 2012

Prime Minister Mario Monti of Italy has suggested football should be suspended for two to three years in the wake of the country's latest match-fixing scandal.

He said that the scandal had caused profound sadness across the country.

A number of people - including Lazio's captain Stefano Mauri - were arrested on Monday.

Police are searching more than 30 homes, including those of players, trainers and administrators of clubs in Serie A, Serie B and lower divisions.

Juventus coach Antonio Conte is among those being questioned.

Officers also visited Italy's pre-Euro 2012 training camp to question left-back Domenico Criscito.

The Italian football federation later announced that Criscito, who is now at Zenit St Petersburg in Russia, would not be selected for Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine in order to clear his name.

The BBC reports five people were also arrested in Hungary on suspicion of being part of an illegal international betting ring.

''I wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea to suspend the game for two or three years, Mr Monti said on Tuesday.

''It's particularly sad when a world which should be an expression of the highest values - sport, youth, competition, fairness turns out to be a mass of foul play, falsehood and demagoguery.

However, Mr Monti acknowledged that his suggestion was not a proposal by the government but a question I am asking.