Valeri's soccer club under investigation

June 3, 2011
By Liam FitzGibbon

Socceroos midfielder Carl Valeri admits he's frustrated another betting scandal has rocked Italian football but is confident his club Sassuolo is not involved in any wrongdoing.

Police arrested 16 people - including current and former players and officials - alleged to be part of an organisation which had rigged games in Italy's second and third divisions.

Valeri's Serie B club Sassuolo is implicated in the controversy, with their 4-0 loss to Siena on March 27 one of 17 matches under investigation.

Valeri, who had spent eight seasons in Italy, also revealed one of his teammates had been linked to the scandal but was confident he was innocent.

"Unfortunately, one of my team-mates has been named in the scandal so it's not a great feeling," Valeri said on Friday, ahead of Australia's clash with New Zealand on Sunday in Adelaide.

"But I know the guy pretty well and I believe it's all just rumours and talk.

"Also the club is a very professional club and I don't believe they'd get involved in any of these things."

In Italy's 2006 Calciopoli scandal, Juventus was stripped of two Serie A titles and relegated to Serie B, while Fiorentina, Milan, Lazio and Reggina were sanctioned.

Valeri admitted it was unfortunate Italian football's credibility had suffered from such controversies but said it would not deter him from continuing to play there.

"Yeah, you do (get frustrated by the scandals), but being in Italy, it's a lovely place," Valeri said.

"I had a mate come over and stay with me and he said 'now I know why you haven't moved'. We had a laugh about it.

"In saying that, the opportunity has never come (to move) and I'm really happy there.

"Although there's these scandals that pop up every now and then, that's the unfortunate side of things, but there is a lot of positives there and I think the positives outweigh the negatives."