Whistle-blower offered training reward

Updated: December 23, 2011, 1:38 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

ROME -- Italy coach Cesare Prandelli is planning to reward Simone Farina, the player who became a whistle-blower on a match-fixing offer, by letting the previously little-known Gubbio defender train with the national team.

"It's a way to thank him and underline what he represents," Prandelli told Italian daily La Repubblica. "He didn't just show courage, he also showed extraordinary inner strength."

Last month, Farina was offered $260,000 to influence the outcome of an Italian Cup match between Cesena and Gubbio on Nov. 30.

Farina refused and told police. When the news broke alongside the arrests of 17 people across Italy on Monday, Farina was hailed as a hero.

Judicial officials said Farina was approached by Alessandro Zamperini, his former teammate from Roma's youth system. Zamperini was among those arrested.

The money Farina might have received would have been more than double his salary.

"Gestures like that don't come easy in the lower divisions," Prandelli said. "Now it's up to us not to abandon him."

Farina likely will train with Italy ahead of a Feb. 29 exhibition game against the United States. He won't play in the match.

"From a technical standpoint, it can't be a real call-up, but it's the message that counts," Prandelli said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.