• Football

Gattuso innocence backed by CONI president Malago

ESPN staff
December 19, 2013
ESPNFC: Gattuso match-fixing?

The presidents of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) and Italian FA (FIGC) have backed Gennaro Gattuso to prove his innocence amid allegations of match-fixing.

On Tuesday, former Italy international Gattuso was named as one of a group of former and current footballers drawn into an ongoing investigation into match-fixing in the country. The former Rangers and AC Milan midfielder has pleaded his innocence and CONI president Giovanni Malago says he has no reason to doubt him.

"I would bet on Gattuso [being innocent]," Malago said, according to ANSA. "He's a good person and I would trust what he has said blindly. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm convinced that he's a good person both in a sporting and human sense. I heard the tone of his voice and I'd really like to know what's behind this investigation."

FIGC president Giancarlo Abete added: "I have every faith in Gattuso. Knowing him, it doesn't seem possible and I'm convinced he will emerge from this ordeal."

On Tuesday, Gattuso revealed his anger at the allegations and insisted he was offended by the situation.

"Never have I ever had the slightest thought about possibly fixing a game," Gattuso told Mediaset television.

"If something was proven I would be willing to go out into the street and, I know this is a strong thing to say, I would kill myself. Anyone who knows me knows that I can't stand to lose even a practice game, not even a game of cards with my friends. I want to clear everything up so I don't have a stain on my career. I have never gambled in my life."

Gattuso's house was searched on Monday night, although he was not present at the time, but the 2006 World Cup winner believes that, in hindsight, it was probably a good thing. "I don't think I'm a saint, but I've never sat with anybody to manipulate games, and nobody has ever proposed anything like it to me," Gattuso told LT Sport Uno.

"Maybe it was a good thing that I wasn't at home because I don't know how I would have reacted. Maybe they would have handcuffed me and arrested me. But the police behaved very well. They took away an iPad and a computer."

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