Milan: Football player Emanuele Pesoli has chained himself to the gates of the Italian football federation headquarters in Rome and gone on hunger strike in protest at being banned for three years in a match-fixing scandal.
The former Siena player, now at Verona, was among a number of Italian footballers, coaches, clubs and team owners to be hit with bans by the federation on Friday after verdicts were reached in an illegal betting probe.
Juventus coach Antonio Conte, also facing a police investigation, was banned for 10 months for not reporting match-fixing while boss of Siena and Pesoli.
“I am hurt by the sentence and I would like to confront those who accuse me,” Pesoli, 31, told Gazzetta dello Sport’s website on Saturday, questioning the testimony of other players which helped convict him.
“It is a strong protest but they are ruining my life for something I have not done. I will stay here until I can’t do it anymore.”
Italian soccer had only just recovered from a damaging 2006 match-fixing scandal and the new affair has again shone a light on the shady dealings which have blighted Serie A and B for years.
Turin giants Juventus were demoted in the 2006 scandal centred on referees, but after years of woe finally bounced back to win the Serie A title last season in Conte’s first term in charge.
They are now left embroiled in another scandal, this time not of their making, but have stood by Conte and say he will ultimately be exonerated by an appeal expected to conclude by September.
Assistant coach Massimo Carrera will manage the team in Conte’s absence.