Former Catania president admits buying matches

The former president of Catania has admitted to buying matches following allegations of fixing.

After the arrests of seven people linked to Catania, former president Antonino Pulvirenti has admitted buying matches in order to save the club from relegation.

Italian police detained Pulvirenti and others in relation to suspected "sporting fraud" during the 2014-15 season, with games alleged to have been fixed to ensure Catania avoided successive relegations.

Catania finished 15th in the table, two points clear of being involved in the play-off matches and five off automatic relegation.

The club released a statement on Monday confirming Pulvirenti - who stepped down from his role with the club last week - had "admitted he had contact with other parties in order to influence the outcome of several matches", although in the same statement the ex-president affirmed his "absolute lack of connection" to match-fixing.

However, Catania state prosecutor Giovanni Salvi explained in a press conference that Pulvirenti had admitted to buying matches, starting with a 3-0 win over Varese in April - although he denied betting on the games.

"Antonino Pulvirenti has confirmed that he bought the matches, starting with Varese-Catania, for €100,000 each," Salvi said.

"He did it to save Catania. However, he has denied having made bets [on the games]."

Catania's own statement, published on the club's official website, said: "Mr Antonino Pulvirenti today clarified his position during a long interrogation before the investigating judge, showing in particular his absolute lack of connection to the phenomenon of match-fixing.

"Mr Pulvirenti admitted he had contact with other parties in order to influence the outcome of several matches, and he did this in order to save Catania from relegation.

"However, he expressed the belief, especially in the light of the reading of the documents, that those contacts did not have any real effect on the matches in question."