Criscito protests his innocence

28 May 2012 06:47

Domenico Criscito insists he has done nothing wrong after being dropped by Italy as a result of the latest match-fixing scandal to hit the nation.

Police have questioned the Zenit St Petersburg defender at the Azzurri's training headquarters in Coverciano, Florence, after Criscito's name surfaced in an investigation carried out by prosecutors in Cremona. Italy then dropped Criscito, who was a certainty for the Euro 2012 squad, from the team.

"To do these (match-fixing) things, it is not something I would do," Criscito told RTL radio station. "Fortunately, I don't need money, 20, 30 or 40,000 euros, whatever it was, but I don't need money. I do a job that I've always dreamed of doing since I was young and I would not mess it up for stupid acts."

He added: "It hurts that this has happened before the (Euro 2012) list but I'm sure that I will come out stronger."

Prosecutors have alleged the 25-year-old Criscito acted unlawfully while he was a Genoa player. He was on the books of the Genoa outfit from 2008 until 2011 before moving to Zenit.

"Criscito is ready to explain anything that may have caused him to be under the spotlight," Criscito's agent Andrea D'Amico said. "Our legal team is working in order for the magistrates to listen to him as soon as possible. Our only wish is for everything to be cleared as soon as possible."

Earlier on Monday, Lazio captain Stefano Mauri and former Genoa midfielder Omar Milanetto were arrested in the probe over allegations of "criminal association and sporting fraud".

Officers also searched more than 31 homes in Italy and abroad, including those of coaches and players of clubs in Serie A, Serie B and lower divisions.

Monday's operation is part of an investigation called "Last Bet" carried out by prosecutors in Cremona which focuses on 33 games over the past two seasons, the majority of which were in Serie B.

Italy football federation president Giancarlo Abete is disappointed with the latest events. "It is a bitter day," he said to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Source: PA