Domenico Criscito will not be included in Italy’s squad for Euro 2012, the vice-president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), Demetrio Albertini, has announced.
Criscito, 25, was implicated in the ongoing Italian police investigation into match-fixing on Monday, with police searching his room at the Italian training camp in Coverciano.
The defender had been expected to form part of Cesare Prandelli's 23-man squad for the European Championship, but has decided to pull out in order to clear his name.
"Criscito will not be with us at the European Championship,'' Albertini said in a press conference. "He is in a hurry to end this current situation and that is his aim. He is disappointed to have caused this situation although he reiterates he has nothing to do with it.
"We are disappointed but we have to remain close to the player. The decision not to include Criscito is a collective decision. The federation has given Prandelli its support over this decision.
"Arrests have been made today but until proven otherwise, we are talking about innocent people even though they are considered suspects. I know Domenico and he is incredulous. He is an extraordinary guy and he has already seen his lawyers this morning. It is a strange day for us. These are things that we would not like to have had to go through."
Criscito himself protested his innocence.
''To do these (match-fixing) things, it is not something I would do,'' he told RTL radio station. ''Fortunately, I don't need money, €20, €30 or €40,000, 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.
''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 added. ''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.''