ROME (AP) – The chief TV rights holder for Serie A matches issued a demand to Italian authorities Saturday to take strong action to prevent more match-fixing.
Sky Italia CEO Tom Mockridge wrote in a front-page editorial in Corriere della Sera that ''whoever controls the outcome and future of this sport'' should issue ''a serious and definitive signal'' that it plans to break with the past.
''That's the only way a partner like Sky can continue to guarantee its viewers'' authentic football matches, Mockridge said, adding that ''specifically because of the authenticity of those emotions, we've invested billions of euros in recent years.''
Sixteen people were arrested in Italy last week for alleged involvement in a widespread match-fixing and betting ring. Some 18 matches - mostly in Serie B and C - are under investigation by prosecutors in Cremona, where the probe is based, and preliminary hearings have suggested Serie A matches could also be involved.
On Friday, the Italian government introduced a task force to combat match-fixing but said it has no plans to limit legal betting on games.
The investigative task force will be composed of representatives from the interior ministry, sports federations and the treasury ministry and will have the power to use police forces in case organized crime is involved.
The Italian game was also hit with a major match-fixing scandal in 2006, which resulted in Juventus being relegated to Serie B plus penalties for several other clubs. Court cases from the 2006 scandal are still under way.