Italian ref De Santis withdrawn from World Cup

May 13, 2006

ROME, May 13 (Reuters) - The Italian Football Federation has withdrawn its proposed referee for the World Cup, Massimo De Santis, who under investigation in a probe into possible fraud.

The federation said in a statement on Saturday it had informed FIFA and UEFA that it was withdrawing applications for De Santis, and two assistant referees, Alessandro Griselli and Marco Ivaldi, to participate at the tournament which starts in Germany next month.

It said the move 'must not be considered in any way prejudicial of the legal judgements which are the exclusive competence of judicial bodies both ordinary and of sport'.

All three officials are among those being investigated in the sports scandal which has hit four of Italy's top clubs.