Premier League - Italian whistleblower Farina gets Aston Villa coaching job

Italian match-fixing whistleblower Simone Farina, who has been unable to find a club since exposing attempts to buy off his former employers, has joined Aston Villa as a community coach.

PA Sport
Premier League - Italian whistleblower Farina gets Aston Villa coaching job
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Simone Farina (Imago)

The former Roma defender hit the headlines when approached and offered 200,000 euros to help influence a Coppa Italia match between his club Gubbio and Cesena in November 2011.

But Farina refused, reported the incident to Italian police and his evidence helped lead to the arrest of 17 people the following month.

It led to FIFA president Sepp Blatter naming 30-year-old Farina as a FIFA ambassador for fair play. He was also called up to train with the Italy squad by coach Cesare Prandelli, despite spending most of his career playing in Italy's lower leagues.

INTERPOL, who investigated the match-fixing scandal in Italy, also awarded Farina a commemorative medal for his contribution to crime prevention and law enforcement.

However his playing career has since stalled, with Gubbio unable to offer him a new contract after their relegation and other Italian clubs seemingly reluctant to employ him.

Farina, who has publicly disputed theories that he has been ostracised for breaking the 'omerta' of Italian footballers, said: "I know I did the right thing when I refused to get involved in the fixing of a football game.

"I went to the authorities because this corruption had to be brought to the surface. This level of deception has no place in football or in any walk of life.

"But it is also important to me that I continue to work in football and that I am able to pass on my knowledge because football is an inspirational game.

"A year ago I did not see my life moving in this direction but I am really delighted to be able now to contribute in this way at Villa.

"I wanted to move on with my life. Now I feel that I have real purpose again because of the support and opportunity Villa have given me."

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