ROME - Italy coach Cesare Prandelli says it wouldnt bother him if his team withdraws from the European Championship while Italian football is engulfed in a huge match-fixing scandal.
The investigation led to 14 arrests this week, and notably Zenit St. Petersburg defender Domenico Criscito was dropped from Prandellis Euro 2012 squad after being questioned at the national teams training headquarters.
Italian Premier Mario Monti went so far on Tuesday to suggest that Italian football should be suspended for two to three years.
If you told us that for the good of football the national team should not go to the Euros, it wouldnt be a problem for me, Prandelli said on Friday in an interview with RaiSport in Zurich.
There are things which I consider more important.
I dont like crusades, I prefer to face up to things and not to take a stance without thinking of consequences. I want to talk only about football but whats happening means we cant.
As regards to the footballers, well continue to say that those involved wont leave for the Euros.
Prandelli and Italy were in Zurich to play Russia on Friday in their last game before leaving for Poland.
Financial police have examined the banking records of Juventus and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon on suspicion he made large bets but news reports say he has been cleared of wrongdoing.
How is Buffon? Youll have to ask him, Prandelli said.
He is very strong, with a great personality. He manages to hide uncomfortable moments, but despite this, even a person like him can suffer in a difficult moment like this. Even the strongest people can be so sensitive.
Antonio Conte, who coached Juventus to the Serie A title this season, was also officially notified that he was under investigation for alleged wrongdoing while in charge of Siena in 2010-2011.
Apart from those arrested on Monday, three people have been placed under house arrest and two others have to present themselves to authorities.
Italy has only recently recovered from the 2006 match-fixing scandal - known as Calciopoli - that resulted in Juventus being relegated to Serie B for a season, plus points penalties for several other Serie A teams and long bans for club and refereeing officials.
Italys national team reacted in the best possible way by winning the World Cup that year.