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Soccer: Nocerina chairman arrested

Southern team back in spotlight after 'derby of shame'

09 January, 12:39
Soccer: Nocerina chairman arrested (ANSA) - Rome, January 9 - Police on Thursday arrested the chairman of Italian third-tier soccer team Nocerina Giovanni Citarella in an operation that also involved the confiscation of property and other assets.

Citarella's brother Christian and the latter's brother-in law were also arrested.

The men face possible charges of criminal association involving false invoicing and the false assignment of assets. Investigators claim players and employees at Nocerina received large sums of money off the books. The probe has brought the southern Italian side back in the spotlight after a furore in November when a derby was abandoned because of intimidation from fans.

The unprecedented incident in the game at Salernitana led to the match being dubbed the "derby of shame" and questions raised yet again at the highest level - including by Premier Enrico Letta - about the power of fans to influence Italian soccer.

An Italian Soccer Federation (FIGC) disciplinary tribunal is set to examine the cases of the 17 people - six Nocerina officials including the chairman, deputy chairman, managing director and doctor, and 11 players - for bringing the game into disrepute.

The Campania derby between Salerno hosts Salernitana and Nocerina was abandoned after 21 minutes when the visiting side were reduced to six men - below the minimum needed to continue the game - after a raft of players feigned injuries.

The injured players could not be replaced as Nocerina made their three permitted substitutions in the first two minutes.

The Nocerina fans were angry about being banned from attending the game, which started 40 minutes late, due to concerns about crowd trouble.

Before the match around 200 of them went to their team's training camp and reportedly threatened the players not to play.