Cesare Prandelli says he would have no problem pulling Italy out of the European Championships, which start in a week’s time, if that decision was taken to avoid tarnishing the image of the game.
Italy is being dragged through the mire once again due to a match-fixing scandal, in which first choice left-back Domenico Criscito was caught up leading to Prandelli ditching him from his tournament squad.
Since then a pair of Juventus players have also been implicated with centre-back Leonardo Bonucci being accused by a former teammate of complicity in match-fixing when at Bari.
And now it is goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon who is suspected of illegal betting as reports have emerged that he spent 1.5 million euros over an eight-month period in a tobacco shop in Parma where you can place bets on football.
Neither player was named in the investigation by the Cremona public prosecutor, who issued a search warrant against Criscito and an arrest warrant against Lazio captain Stefano Mauri amongst several others.
But a document has been leaked to the press in which the Turin public prosecutor informs his counterpart in Cremona about Buffon’s expenses. Buffon allegedly made 14 different payments ranging from 50,000-euros to 200,000-euros and totalling 1.585 million euros to Massimo Alfieri, the owner of the tobacco shop.
The document also explains that Buffon’s lawyer refused to answer questions about the reasons for such payments, citing the player’s privacy as justification. It has led to rumours that Italy may lose players from the national squad if further leaks or investigations implicate Bonucci and Buffon, or indeed other players, in a more concrete manner.
And if that is the case, Prandelli would have no qualms about his team being removed from Euro 2012. “If it is decided that for the good of football the national team should not go to the Euros then that wouldn’t be a problem,” he told RaiSport.
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