Impact striker Marco Di Vaio cleared in match-fixing case

Montreal's star player can now return to finish the season with Montreal after the disciplinary commission of the Italian Football Federation acquited him.
Marco Di Vaio was accused of concealing facts about a match-fixing scheme during a match between Bologna and Bari last year. (The Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson)

Marco Di Vaio can finally put his full focus on the Montreal Impact.

The Italian Football Federation announced early Friday morning that Di Vaio had been acquitted on all charges against him in a match-fixing case in his native Italy.

The Impact striker had been accused of not disclosing information about the fraud attempt that occurred during a Serie A match between Bologna and Bari in May 2011, when he was captain of Bologna F.C.

"I'm really happy this is all over with," a visibly relieved Di Vaio said following practice on Friday. "It's been tough on me, my family and everyone close to me for the last two months."

With the mental toll the investigation had taken on Di Vaio, the verdict couldn't come soon enough.

"I set my alarm for 3:00 a.m. because I knew the news would be coming around 9:30 a.m. in Italy. I went on the computer and my wife and I waited for the news," he said.

Di Vaio went to Rome last week to appear before a disciplinary committe of Italy's soccer federation investigating the scandal. The 36-year-old had repeatedly said he wasn't involved, but he returned to Canada with some doubt as to what his future held.

"I spent two days there talking with the jury. I understood it wasn't an easy decision for everyone — for me, all the players questioned there, the club," Di Vaio said. "There's not a lot of leeway when defending yourself because you only have five days to prepare your case."

It was a sense of relief for the Impact organization as well. The club is in the midst of a playoff push in its first MLS season and can now count on having its designated player in the fold down the stretch.

"You could see when he came in this morning that the weight of the world is off his shoulders," said head coach Jesse Marsch. "He's handled it really well within our group and committing himself here. It's a weight off his and all of our shoulders. We're very pleased with the result."

Di Vaio will be available for the Impact's next game against the Revolution on Sunday, in Foxborough, Mass.