Italian soccer is back under the spotlight for the wrong reasons after the nation's federation is investigating 22 teams and 61 people, including 52 players, in a widespread match-fixing scandal.
Serie A clubs Atalanta, Novara and Siena are the only top-flight teams reportedly under investigation, and their involvement in the scandal dates back to their time in Serie B. According to the Associated Press and documents released by the Italian federation, the other clubs involved are: AlbinoLeffe, Ancona, Ascoli, Avesa, Cremonese, Empoli, Frosinone, Grosseto, Livorno, Modena, Monza, Padova, Pescara, Piacenza, Ravenna, Reggina, Rimini, Sampdoria and Spezia.
The investigation is likely to wind up with a major trial this summer, one along the lines of what took place in 2006 and resulted in current Serie A champions Juventus being sent to Serie B and having a pair of title stripped from them.
Here are a few more stories to get your Wednesday going:
CUMMINGS, WYNNE TO MISS FOUR WEEKS
The Colorado Rapids will have to overcome injuries to two of their fastest, more integral players, as Marvell Wynne and Omar Cummings will each miss the next four weeks with respective injuries.
Wynne was already forced out of the last two matches with a hamstring injury that he suffered in a training session last Tuesday, and that ailment will keep him sidelined through the June international break. Tyrone Marshall has been starting in Wynne's place and figures to pair with Drew Moor in central defense while Wynne recovers.
Cummings, meanwhile, injured his left ankle in Colorado's 2-0 victory over FC Dallas on Sunday night and was subbed off in the first half of the match. Colorado just got Conor Casey back from a ruptured Achilles' and also added Brazilian striker Edu to the roster this week, which will help cover for Cummings' absence.
VELEZ, LIBERTAD ADVANCE IN LIBERTADORES
Argentine club Velez Sarsfield and Paraguayan side Libertad are the first two teams to punch their tickets to the Copa LIbertadores quarterfinals after advancing Tuesday night.
Velez played Colombian squad Atletico Nacional to a 1-1 draw, which was more than enough to sustain the 1-0 edge they built in the first leg. Augusto Fernandez' goal was all Velez needed, though Luis Mosquera's 70th-minute free-kick strike for Atletico Nacional added an element of uncertainty for the final 20 minutes. Velez will play either Bolivar or Neymar-led Santos in the quarterfinals. Bolivar surprised Santos with a 2-1 victory in the first leg.
Libertad eliminated Mexico's Cruz Azul with a 2-0 secong-leg victory, which gave them the series on a 3-1 aggregate. Jose Nunez and Victor Caceres each scored off headers from free kicks to carry the scoring load, and Libertad will face either Deportivo Quito or Universidad de Chile in the next round. Quito leads that tie 4-1 after the first leg.
BLACKBURN EXECUTIVE FIRED FOR LEAKED LETTER
Times are tough at Ewood Park these days, and tensions boiled over as relegated Blackburn fired deputy CEO Paul Hunt after an internal letter that detailed his wish to jettison Steve Kean in the winter was leaked to a website.
"(Kean) has lost the crowd and as a result of this evening's game has lost the dressing room as well – the players no longer want to play for him," Hunt wrote after a December loss to Bolton. "It is a shame and disappointing but we must act now to save the club. The board should be asked their opinion on who should be the new manager."
The Sporting Intelligence website that ran the letter claimed that Hunt did not leak it to them, but the club axed him for having his private wishes go public regardless.
What's your take on the latest match-fixing scandal in Italy? Do you think the Rapids have ample cover for Wynne and Cummings? How far do you think Velez and Libertad can go? Do you see Bolivar stunning Santos and knocking off the defending champions? Think Hunt deserved the axe for the letter leak?
Share your thoughts below.