Doni denies involvement in match-fixing

MILAN - Ex-Italy midfielder Cristiano Doni denied on Thursday being involved in illegal betting and match-fixing in the lower divisions after media reports said the captain of the promoted Serie A side Atalanta was being probed.

Italian football, still recovering from a 2006 match-fixing scandal in the top flight, was stunned on Wednesday when authorities announced former Italy striker Giuseppe Signori was among a number of people arrested over the allegations.

Police said some well-known footballers who are still playing were also being investigated but had not been arrested, prompting media reports that Doni, 38, was among them.

"Cristiano Doni, certain that he has always acted in respect of the rules, has the utmost faith in the organs of criminal and sporting justice and is sure they will prove he has absolutely nothing to do with the issues under discussion," said a statement from his representatives.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) told Reuters on Wednesday it would open an inquiry after Atalanta and Siena, who have both won promotion to Serie A for next season, were named as being among the clubs under the spotlight.

Police said the six-month investigation had produced evidence of an organised system among former and current footballers, sports betting operators and others to manipulate the results of a number of matches in Serie B and non-league.

They said bets worth tens of thousands of euros, and in some cases hundreds of thousands, had been placed on matches.

Juventus were demoted in the 2006 affair, which revolved around cosying up to referees rather than betting, but the scandal is still not over with criminal and sporting courts still examining the facts.