Catania football pulvirenti arrested
Catania chairman Antonino Pulvirenti has been arrested in connection with match-fixing claimsMaurizio Lagana/Getty Images

The president of Italian football team Catania is among seven people arrested by police in a morning raid over match-fixing allegations.

Antonino Pulvirenti and other managerial staff at the Sicilian side are accused of paying Catania's way through this season's Serie B – the second tier of the Italian football league.

Police allege Catania offered money to a number of opponents in exchange for easy wins that eventually resulted in the team narrowly escaping a second consecutive relegation.

Serie B chief Andrea Abodi said the accusations were another a blow to the reputation of Italian football, which was shocked by another match-fixing investigation only last month.

"This news leaves us in dismay," he told SkyTG24.

Detectives carried out searches at premises in Catania and elsewhere in Italy. All those arrested or investigated are linked to Catania and face accusations of fraud in sporting competition

Catania were relegated from Serie A last year, ending an eight-year residence in Italy's top flight. During that period the club was managed by, among others, Atletico Madrid's star coach Diego Simeone and new AC Milan boss Sinisa Mihajlovic.

Nicknamed Gli Elefanti (The Elephants), Catania finished just two points clear of relegation playoffs this season.

In May, more than 50 people were held by police across the country in a separate football-related operation, with authorities alleging that the 'Ndrangheta, the powerful Calabrese organised crime syndicate, was behind a large match-fixing and betting ring.