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Whistle-blower rewarded with Italy call

Whistle-blower rewarded with Italy call
By Reuters

23/12/2011 at 22:32Updated 23/12/2011 at 23:57

A Serie B player who has spent most of his career in the lower leagues has been asked to train with the Italy team as reward for reporting an attempted bribe to police.

Simone Farina, who plays for modest second-tier side Gubbio, was offered 200,000 euros to help fix a Coppa Italia match against Cesena on November 30.

He refused the bribe, which was allegedly made by a former team-mate at a different club, and reported the incident to police.

"I loved what (Farina) did, he has shown great courage and extraordinary inner strength," Italy boss Cesare Prandelli was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport.

However, Gubbio club president Marco Fioriti warned against treating Farina as a hero.

"His behaviour was normal, a normal person who has sound principles in mind," he said on the club website.

"So he is to be admired for the courage he has shown and for the honesty, but let's not make him a hero."

Police recently arrested dozens of people including former Italy international and Atalanta captain Cristiano Doni, in what has become the largest corruption scandal in Italy since the Calciopoli affair that saw Juventus relegated and several teams punished for bribing and intimidating referees.

Former Italy striker Giuseppe Signori was also detained in the summer along with 14 others as Italian authorities continue long-standing investigations into betting scams.

Gubbio, who play in a tiny 5,300-seater stadium and whose wages are believed to be among the lowest in the division, won promotion to Italy's second division for the first time in 63 years last season.

Farina joined the club in 2007, having also played for Citadella, Gualdo and Celano in Italy's semi-professional third and fourth divisions.

He was a trainee at Roma but never made the grade - interestingly, he was inadvertently involved in a false accounting scandal when Roma were fined 60,000 euros for over-valuing youth-team players in a series of complicated transfers that were engineered to fiddle the club's profit margins.