Armando Izzo, the Monza footballer gets 5-year sentence for external competition in Camorra association and sports fraud

ROME – Armando Izzo, The Monza footballer has been sentenced to 5 years in prison by the sixth criminal section of the Court of Naples for external competition in a Camorra association and sports fraud.

 The trial comes after investigations by the District Anti-Mafia Directorate into the Vanella Grassi Camorra clan which uncovered alleged cases of match-fixing, dating back ten years to the 2013-2014 Serie B championship when Izzo was playing for Avellino.

 According to the investigators he was involved with the Camorra clan and sabotaged at least two matches. He was further convicted of the count relating to the Modena-Avellino match and acquitted by the count in regard to the Avellino-Reggina match.  The prosecutor of the Neapolitan Dda Maurizio De Marco has requested 4 years and 10 months in prison for the Monza footballer. Izzo's lawyers, Rino Nugnes and Stefano Montone have appealed against this sentence. The defense announced that he was "very disappointed" by the sentence and went on Instagram to explain that: "I believe in justice and I'm sure I will be demonstrating absolute extraneousness to the criminal environment. I won't stop fighting."

 Being born in Scampia, one of Italy’s most dangerous and criminal cities, Izzo’s story has always been about the poor boy from the deep Neapolitan suburbs who got to play in Serie A and wear the national team shirt and was seen as a hopeful tale about emancipation from criminal environments. Then in 2017 comes the bolt from the blue investigation: the prosecutor De Marco is investigating the brothers Umberto and Antonio Accurso, the Mafia bosses of Vinella Grassi, for their trafficking in drugs and extortion, and came across the maneuvers of the Accurso to combine the Modena-Avellino and Avellino-Reggina matches, through the mediation - the prosecutor suspected - of a former footballer-jeweler, Luca Pini, and the Avellino captain, Francesco Millesis.

 Izzo allegedly attended two of the preparatory meetings in a restaurant with the Camorristi, Pini, and another teammate on May 14 and 20, 2014. He has admitted to attending the meetings but denies having discussed or participated in selling matches. 

 For De Marco, the Accurso brothers allegedly promised and then sent Millesi a large sum of money, an estimated 30 thousand euros, delivered by their colleague Pini, to bribe other players as well. According to the public prosecutor's office, Millesi would have exerted his influence on other Avellino players to favor the Modena goal: this was the alleged agreement.  

 According to the investigators, Antonio Accurso on behalf of the clan bet at least 400,000 euros on the goal created by the home team (Modena), earning around 60,000. In turn, Izzo allegedly accepted a sum of money  "as compensation in order to achieve a different result from that resulting from the correct and fair conduct of the aforementioned competition " wrote the prosecutor. 

 In wiretapped conversations with his Agent Izzo apparently sang about it saying “So I made you go to Trieste, do you remember or not when the… inc., do you remember when I told you: "You don't have to stay in Naples". Do you remember or not? when I told you: “You don't have to stay in Naples” and I made you play for Triestina, do you remember? and therefore, you understand or not; so I didn't want you to stay in Naples, to play in Avellino, do you understand or not… you understand, great "latrine"!!! Always a “latrine” I have to treat you.”

 Izzo's name was often mentioned in the interrogations of Antonio Accurso, who is serving a life sentence in prison for multiple homicides and has now become a collaborator of justice: “He is a relative of ours, being a nephew of Salvatore Petriccione. Already when he played for Triestina, there was a draft of match-fixing in which my brother Umberto accompanied by Mario Pacciarelli went to Trieste knowing that the club did not pay the players' salaries to see if something could be done, but without a result". Immediately after the sentence, Monza, Silvio Berlusconi's club, announced "total closeness and support to Armando, convinced of his non-involvement in the criminal environment".