MONTREAL – Marco Di Vaio can now focus on Major League Soccer with a clear mind.
Di Vaio was cleared of all charges against him in the Italian Calcioscommesse match-fixing scandal early Friday morning, thus avoiding a potential 12-month ban from soccer. The Montreal Impact forward had been accused of failing to disclose knowledge of an attempted sporting fraud by former Bologna teammate Daniele Portanova in May 2011.
Portanova, for his part, has been banned from soccer for six months, while Bologna have been fined 30,000 euros.
Di Vaio was buoyant as he met the Montreal media on Friday morning, despite the light circles under his eyes due to an obvious lack of sleep.
“I set the alarm clock for 3 am this morning,” Di Vaio told reporters. “I knew the news would come out around 9 am local time, so I set the alarm and waited in front of the computer. I feel freer, lighter. I’m glad I can now think about football, about the Impact, about being here with my family and our life in Montreal.”
The verdict is a welcome relief for the entire Impact organization, though optimism remained high throughout the process. Di Vaio often stated that he had nothing to do with the scandal, and Montreal head coach Jesse Marsch never once sounded worried over the issue.
The Impact’s No. 9 nevertheless admitted that, upon flying back to Montreal from Italy, he was not completely sure that the outcome would be positive for him.
“When I got to Rome for the hearings, I understood how tough it was on everyone,” Di Vaio explained. “For me, for the players there, the clubs. There’s not much leeway for defending yourself. You have only five days to get your whole case together.”
The Impact’s DP striker will therefore be eligible to take part in Montreal’s game away at New England Revolution this Sunday (7 pm ET, watch LIVE online) after a one-week absence from MLS action. Di Vaio’s match-fixing hearings prevented him from playing in the Impact’s 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union at Stade Saputo last Saturday.
And now that Di Vaio has picked up the biggest win of his career, Marsch’s options in attack have been transformed.
“I’m a new player,” Di Vaio concluded with a laugh.