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Soccer: Ex-Bari defender Masiello gets suspended prison term

Player at centre of match-fixing scandal strikes plea bargain

03 October, 10:52
Soccer: Ex-Bari defender Masiello gets suspended prison term (ANSA) - Bari, October 3 - Former Bari defender Andrea Masiello, one of the players at the centre of Italy's latest match-fixing scandal, was given a suspended 22-month prison sentence on Wednesday after a plea bargain with prosecutors.

Masiello, who has been banned from soccer by a sporting tribunal, has admitted to deliberately scoring an own goal to ensure Bari lost 2-0 to Lecce in the 2010-11 campaign, when they were relegated to Serie B.

A Bari court found the 26-year-old guilty of criminal association and sporting fraud regarding the fixing of four matches.

Two of the player's friends who betted on fixed matches, Gianni Carella and Fabio Giacobbe, were given 17-month suspended sentences. Over 40 people have been arrested since the Cremona-based 'Last Bet' criminal probe went public last year, leading sporting prosecutors to look at the case.

They include Lazio midfielder Stefano Mauri and former Italy internationals Beppe Signori and Cristiano Doni.

Four Serie A sides started this season with points deducted because of their players' involvement - Siena (-6), Atalanta (-2), Torino (-1) and Sampdoria (-1).

Antonio Conte, the coach of Serie A champions Juventus, is serving a 10-month ban from the game for failing to report an agreement to fix the result of a match when he was in charge of Siena in the second tier in the 2010-11 campaign.

Conte is appealing and the ban is likely to be cut by four months, according to press reports. The new case has rocked the Italian soccer world again after Juventus were relegated and stripped of two Serie A titles for involvement in the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal in 2006.

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