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Merrick confident match-fixing in the past

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 9/08/2016

Marco Rossi, Wellington Phoenix's new signing, in action for Perugia. © Giuseppe Bellini/GETTY IMAGES Marco Rossi, Wellington Phoenix's new signing, in action for Perugia. Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick is confident about the character of his new signing Marco Rossi despite the player being banned during the match-fixing scandal that engulfed Italian football in 2011.

The 28-year-old, who has previously played for Parma, Sampdoria, Bari and Perugia, has signed a two-year deal with the A-League club.

The centre-back was banned for 20 months in 2012, not for match-fixing but for not reporting match-fixing during his time at Bari.

While there was no mention of the ban or match-fixing during the player's unveiling in Wellington on Tuesday morning, coach Ernie Merrick was asked about Rossi's character.

"We looked into his background fairly carefully and there's no doubt in my mind he's a good person,"said Merrick.

"It's very important that we sign the right people for this club.

"Knowing the agent that was involved and his honesty, we could get a really good picture not only of the quality of the player but the quality of the character," Merrick added.

"We're really happy with what we've got and we certainly did our homework."

Italian football has been rocked by a series of match-fixing scandals. In 2006, systematic rigging at boardroom level resulted in Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina being relegated to Serie B, while AC Milan were docked points but avoided relegation.

The match-fixing scandal in 2011 resulted in almost 20 players being banned for a range of one to five years with more implicated and banned the following year.

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