Napoli accused of committing sporting fraud, face possible bans

Paolo Bruno

Ex-Napoli goalkeeper Matteo Gianello has been accused of attempting to fix a match against Sampdoria. Now Napoli could see Paolo Cannavaro banned and suffer a points deduction.

Could this week get any worse for Napoli? On Saturday, they recorded their first loss of the season, to Serie A leaders Juventus. The partenopei then fell 3-1 to Dnipro in the Europa League. Now, on Friday, the news comes that Napoli have been charged with sporting fraud by the FIGC.

The suspicion centers around former goalkeeper Matteo Gianello, who is accused of attempting to fix a match against Sampdoria back in 2010. Current players Paolo Cannavaro and Gianluca Grava refused to participate, but failed to report the incident -- the same maneuver that saddled Juve coach Antonio Conte with a touchline ban.

One imagines players wouldn't receive as stiff a punishment as head coaches, but any sort of ban for Cannavaro will hurt the partenopei. Grava rarely plays, but, save for a match in which he sat out for accumulation of yellow cards, Napoli's captain has featured in every league game this season.

Of course, the punishment is likely to extend beyond individual players. Siena were docked six points at the start of the season for their participation in the latest match-fixing scandal; Torino, Atalanta and Sampdoria also took hits. Considering Siena were punished for individuals having knowledge of sporting fraud but failing to report, Napoli could soon be struggling to overcome a significant deficit.

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