Catania club president admits buying results of five Serie B matches

The president of Italian Serie B club Catania has admitted to buying five matches last season, La Gazzetta dello Sport has reported.

Antonino Pulvirenti was put under house arrest last week following an investigation into alleged match-fixing in some of the Sicilian club's games last season.

He was accused of paying opponents to let Catania win as they faced the prospect of a second straight relegation.

Pulvirenti, asked to give his version of events on Monday, admitted having paid €100,000 per match on five occasions.

The results of the games saw a run of wins lift Catania away from the Serie B relegation zone to safety.

"He did it to save Catania," the Catania state prosecutor Giovanni Salvi was quoted as saying in La Gazzetta's report.

"Antonino Pulvirenti has confirmed that he bought the matches, starting with Varese-Catania, for €100,000 each.

"However, he has denied having bet on the games."

Catania face automatic relegation by at least one division in the wake of Pulvirenti's admission.

The Lega Serie B authorities and the and Italian FA are awaiting the conclusions of the investigation before imposing sporting sanctions.

Meanwhile, the general manager of Catania, Pablo Cosentino, said he had been unaware of what happened.

"I don't know anything about any fixing," he said. "I have nothing to do with any of the things I am accused of.

"If I had done something like that, I would be crazy. If Pulvirenti's done it, then he's crazy."

The investigation continues.