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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Stefano Mauri

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

Stefano Mauri played for Lazio from 2006 to 2016.

Mauri was born in Monza (Lombardy), on 8 January, 1980. He grew up in the Monza youth sector where he remained until the age of 16. He then went to Brugherio (Eccellenza - 5th tier) before joining Meda (C2) in 1998. He played for Meda for 3 years (81 appearances, 12 goals).


In 2001 he was loaned to Modena (Serie B) and made his debut against Ternana, while his first goal came on May 6 against Cittadella. He did not play much (9 appearances, 1 goal) but did help the “Canarini” to get promoted to Serie A. He made his top-flight debut against Milan on 14 September and got his first goal on November 6 against Atalanta.


In 2003 he was loaned to Brescia where he played alongside the great Roberto Baggio. His first Serie A brace came on 6 January against Siena.


In 2004 he moved to Friuli to play for Udinese where he also made his European debut in a UEFA Cup game against Greek side Panionios. He played 40 games that season with 7 goals helping Udinese qualify for the Champions League. His debut in the most prestigious Cup came against Sporting Lisbon in 2005. Mauri however did not repeat his positive previous season and in the winter market session was loaned to Lazio.


Mauri's first game for the “Eagles” came against Treviso on 29 January, 2006 and he scored his first goal as a “Laziale” on the 5th of March, away at Chievo Verona.


In the summer of 2006 Lazio put their faith in Mauri and bought him to play behind the forwards for coach Delio Rossi. He also got his first call up for the national team. He and Lazio qualified for the Champions League at the end of a highly successful campaign.

In the 2010-11 season he started to take on captaincy duties as Tommaso Rocchi was frequently injured.


From 2011 however a black cloud hovered over Mauri's career as he was accused of being involved in match fixing.


2011 match fixing scandal


The 2011 match fixing and betting scandal started in December when Carlo Gervasoni, who admitted fixing a few Serie B games, mentioned that Stefano Mauri had fixed matches together with his friend Alessandro Zamperini. The latter would later admit match fixing for the team he played for (Modena) but would then be declared unreliable by the National Court of Arbitration for Sport in January 2013.


On May 28, 2012, Mauri was arrested by order of the Cremona magistrates with the accusation of having fixed Lazio vs Genoa (played on May 14, 2011) and Lecce vs Lazio (played on May 22, 2011). On June 4 he was given house arrest and ten days later set free because “there were no conditions for applying a cautionary measure”. Basically, Mauri was arrested in the hope that he would confess to something and give a few more names. He maintained his innocence, so he was sent home.


In October he was interrogated by the Berne magistrates in Switzerland due to the opening of a Swiss bank account, thought to have been set up for the money from the bets. Mauri explained that the account was opened to help with his Dad’s medical expenses, common practice by residents in Lombardy. Mauri’s father died a few months later.


On July 10, the Sports Tribunal formally sent the Lazio captain to trial and the sports prosecutor asked for Mauri to be suspended for 4 years and six months: three years for Lazio vs Genoa, 6 months for the repetition of the offence in Lecce vs Lazio, six months for the fact that the match fixing was actually successful and six months for having betted. 


The first sentence suspended the player for six months for failure to report the illicit for Lazio vs Genoa but he was acquitted for Lecce vs Lazio due to lack of evidence. The Sports Tribunal called for more enquiries and on October 2, 2013 he was suspended for nine months (extra three for Lecce vs Lazio). The National Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced the sentence back to six months on January 10, 2014. This sentence was final.


Meanwhile, the Cremona magistrates on July 7, 2015 sent Mauri to trial. In July 2019, the Bologna court dismissed the charge.


The “proof”


According to the Cremona magistrates, Mauri met his friend Zamperini and Hristiyan Ilievski, a Macedonian citizen in charge of a group who organized the heist, at Formello where Lazio train near Rome, before Lazio vs Genoa. Here they allegedly decided to fix the upcoming match. This was proven simply by the fact that the tracing on the phone cards located the three at Formello at the same time. Omar Milanetto, who was playing for Genoa at the time, later met the two in the hotel where Genoa were staying (also proven by the phone card tracing). 


Mauri had a phone card registered to the business partner of Luca Aureli, manager of a Rome betting shop and friend of the Lazio captain. This phone card was only used during the two weeks prior to the two games. And since football players can bet on events not linked to football, there was no reason for Mauri to have this phone card if he was doing something he could do legally anyway.


Later on Milanetto, who was also arrested, went to a meeting, at the Milan hotel Una Tocq, where he was paid.


As far as Lecce vs Lazio is concerned, there is only the story told by Gervasoni.


Gervasoni explained that Amir Gegic invested 400 thousand euros for the fixing of Lecce vs Lazio. He claimed that players from both teams were involved: according to Gervasoni, "two or three from Lazio and three or four from Lecce". The game was fixed by Zamperini who had contacted Mauri.


Zamperini later admitted to having tried to bribe Lecce's Stefano Ferrario for Lecce vs Lazio but the player, who was injured, said he was not interested. 


That is it. Nothing more.


Was Mauri innocent?


The online forum Lazio.net immediately started to look into the matter. Among the many thousands of people registered to the forum (including Simon), there were legal experts and lawyers, who came together to examine all of the acts and documents of the case. The effort put in by these Lazio supporters was absolutely incredible, and the results can be summed up as follows. 


  1. There was no trace of the money, nor of the bets. There was no proof of which players took part (impossible to change the outcome of a game with only one player), where the money was and where the bets were placed.

  2. Mauri and Zamperini did actually meet in Formello. Zamperini stated that he met Mauri at the gates of the Lazio training centre and the captain gave him some tickets for the match. He was there for five minutes and Ilievski stayed in the car. The mobile phones indicate that Zamperini was at Formello for three minutes and that he actually did go to see the game on the Sunday. 

  3. There is no proof that Mauri met Ilievsky. Gervasoni had asked Zamperini to favour meetings between Ilievski and football players because the Macedonian group wanted to make large amounts of money on match fixing. But Zamperini stated that he stayed in the car and there are no witnesses to the contrary.

  4. Illogical reconstructions: the suspects used dozens of text messages but then moved from Formello to the hotel where Genoa were staying at 110 km/h to meet for just over a minute. According to the Prosecutor, after Mauri and Zamparini decided on the heist (in three minutes), Zamparini then left Formello to go to the hotel where Genoa were staying and in one minute got Milanetto to agree. Why organize a physical meeting to arrange a match rather than an SMS, the use of which was  massive in those days? Why did Zamperini have to risk an accident or a fine to cover 17.5 kilometers in 12 minutes when he could have informed Milanetto with an SMS?

  5. Mauri claimed he used his friend’s girlfriend’s phone card to bet on tennis and basketball. This was actually proven. 

  6. Mauri was arrested with the aim of obtaining a confession regarding the matches or, better still, SS Lazio's involvement. When asked to have the decision reviewed by third party judges, the Cremona magistrates let him go because if the judgement had then been negative, the entire castle of sand would have been swept away.

  7. As a consequence, the only thing the Cremona magistrates had was Gervasoni’s confession but Gervasoni was considered to be unreliable by the Sports Arbitration and hence de facto there was no case.

  8. Since there was no case, Mauri should never have been given a six-month suspension for not having reported the attempted bribery. But he was. The presence of Ilievsky at Formello according to the Sports Court indicated that there must have been attempted bribery, so, even if there was no proof, Mauri should have denounced his friend for having attempted to change the result of a game.. What?


An explanation here is needed. Since Mauri was arrested there must have been something. But the Sports Court found no proof, so, just in case Mauri could eventually be proven guilty of something in the court of law,  they suspended him for six months to save face. The face had to saved. The Italian media had already condemned Mauri, and Lazio, to hell for eternity, so the Sport Authorities risked being slapped in the face by the papers. Better to say, “well we did give him six months after all”. Furthermore, they claimed that, since Zamperini and Mauri were friends, the Lazio captain must have known his mate was up to something.



Mauri therefore after a 6 months ban returned to action on February 9 2014, in a derby game against Roma (0-0).


Mauri played one more full season for Lazio, the 2015-16 being his last for the “Biancocelesti”.


In January 2017 he re-joined Brescia in Serie B and played his last half season for the “Rondinelle” before hanging up his boots.


Mauri's career will be remembered for his days at Udinese but especially for his time at Lazio. He was captain on 26th May when Lazio beat arch rivals Roma in the Italian Cup Final. The image of Mauri lifting the Cup is one of the most cherished memories for any Lazio fan. With Lazio Mauri won 2 Italian Cups (against Sampdoria in 2009 and 2013) and one Italian Super Cup (against Jose Mourinho's Inter 2009). He played 303 times for Lazio (253 in Serie A, 24 in Coppa Italia, 4 in Champions League, 15 In Europa League and one in Super Coppa) and scored 47 goals (42 in Serie A, 3 in Coppa Italia and 2 in Europa League).


Mauri was an attacking midfielder. He was versatile, had good feet, vision and at 1.84 metres was strong in the air. He had excellent positioning and found the net frequently. He scored a derby winning goal and many of his acrobatic gems such as the bicycle kick against Napoli will never be forgotten by Lazio fans.


At International level he won 11 caps for Italy.


Mauri will be remembered as a talented, skilful player and has his name forever engraved in Lazio history for lifting “la coppa in faccia” (the Cup in the face) of the hated enemy Roma.


Today Mauri continues to show off his skills around the world having joined the Football League, set up for retired players.


Lazio Career

Season

Total games (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Europa League

Super Coppa

Jan -Jun 2006

17 (2)

15 (2)

2

-

-

-

2006-07

31 (6)

29 (6)

2

-

-

-

2007-08

33 (3)

24 (3)

5

4

-

-

2008-09

31 (3)

26 (1)

5 (2)

-

-

-

2009-10

44 (4)

35 (3)

2

-

6 (1)

1

2010-11

30 (6)

29 (6)

1

-

-

-

2011-12

19 (5)

16 (4)

-

-

3 (1)

-

2012-13

36 (4)

26 (3)

4 (1)

-

6

-

2013-14

12 (4)

12 (4)

-

-

-

-

2014-15

31 (9)

29 (9)

2

-

-

-

2015-16

19 (1)

12 (1)

1

-

6

-

Totals

​303 (47)

253 (42)

24 (3)

4

21 (2)

1

Sources


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