Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni (72) has weighed in to the latest match-fixing scandal to emerge from his home country.
The former Italy manager admits he was shocked by the news that players, including Lazio captain Stefano Mauri and ex-Genoa midfielder Omar Milanetto, have been arrested by police in connection with the investigation.
“It is a devastating story,” Trapattoni is quoted in Gazzetta dello. “If the magistrates are doing something, it is because there is some truth in this.
“I, who have travelled abroad for some time, must say that we give an ugly image of our football. As an Italian, the first feeling is that we are mocked abroad, we are always linked to illicit dealings and are considered mafia members.
“This only damages us because I can claim to have paid the price for an attitude that affects everyone.”
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) confirmed Mauri and Milanetto have been held over allegations of “criminal association and sporting fraud”.
Ireland are paired with Italy in Group C at the European Championships. Italy are 14/1 outsiders for the tournament in online betting with Paddy Power.