MONTREAL -- This is no typical trip to Italy for Marco Di Vaio.
The prosecutor in the Calcioscommesse match-fixing case has called for a one-year ban for the Montreal striker, who allegedly failed to disclose knowledge of an attempted sporting fraud by former Bologna teammate Daniele Portanova in May 2011. Di Vaio returned to his native Italy on Thursday for the second time in two months to attend hearings in the scandal.
Di Vaio may be suspended up to one year if found guilty by a disciplinary committee of the Italian soccer federation (FIGC) for failing to report fraud in connection with a 2011 match in which Bologna lost 4-0 at home to Bari. Portanova, meanwhile, faces a three-year ban.
According to a report published on Friday by Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Di Vaio’s lawyers are denouncing the fact that they have to prove, without phone records, that the incriminating phone call between their client and Portanova never took place, calling it a “diabolical reversal of the burden of the proof."
"I talked with him and he said he didn't do anything, so he's very fine," Di Vaio's teammate and countryman Matteo Ferrari said, according to CBC.ca. "But sometimes in Italy we are so strange, so I don't know what's going to happen. I hope just nothing because we need Marco."
Di Vaio’s future will be settled next week, when a decision on an eventual ban and whether or not it would be enforced in MLS will be issued. In the meantime, the Impact can only hope they will not be without their Designated Player longer than this weekend's match against Philadelphia (7:30 pm ET, MLS Live).
“Yeah, that would be bad,” Marsch said of the suggested ban. “It’s hard to predict what’s going on over there.”