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Wednesday, October 17, 2012
ESPNsoccernet: October 18, 10:26 AM UK
Villa appoint match-fixing hero Farina

ESPN staff

Aston Villa have appointed Simone Farina - a key player in unearthing an Italian match-fixing scandal last year - as their community coach.

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Farina, 30, refused €200,000 to help influence a Coppa Italia match between his club at the time Gubbio and Cesena in November 2011, before reporting the incident to Italian police.

The former Roma defender's evidence then helped lead to the arrest of 17 people the following month, leading FIFA President Sepp Blatter naming him as a FIFA ambassador for fair play.

He also received a commemorative medal for his contribution to crime prevention and law enforcement from Interpol, who were in charge of the match-fixing investigation.

And Farina stands by his decision to shy away from the scandal, while he is also looking forward to the next chapter in his career at Villa.

"I know I did the right thing when I refused to get involved in the fixing of a football game," he said. "I went to the authorities because this corruption had to be brought to the surface. This level of deception has no place in football or in any walk of life.

"But it is also important to me that I continue to work in football and that I am able to pass on my knowledge because football is an inspirational game.

"A year ago I did not see my life moving in this direction but I am really delighted to be able now to contribute in this way at Villa. I wanted to move on with my life. Now I feel that I have real purpose again because of the support and opportunity Villa have given me.''

Interpol secretary-general Ron Noble is hopeful Farina's actions will have an effect on the younger generation in eradicating corruption from football.

"Simone Farina is a football defender both on and off the pitch," he said. "He showed integrity and courage by turning down and reporting to the police an attempted bribe to corrupt the outcome of a match.

"He needs to become just as important a role model for our youth like stars such as Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Corruption in sport is a very complex problem for which there is no quick fix. In addition to strong enforcement efforts, all those linked to the 'beautiful game' must place a great emphasis on prevention.

"In this respect Simone Farina's appointment by Aston Villa as a coach in its community outreach programme will allow him to continue to work to keep football clean.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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