2004–2010 Italian football scandal
The 2004–10 Italian football scandal also known as Caso Plusvalenze was a football scandal over alleged false accounting at Italian football clubs in the 2000s. The investigation started in 2004, and the last sentencing occurred in 2010.
In the early 2000s, many Italian football clubs went bankrupt due to benefactors withdrawing financial support. The search for profit seemed to have pushed the game into the background, and from the law enforcement investigations, a widespread culture of illegality had emerged. These football clubs included AC Fiorentina (2002), Monza (2004), S.S.C. Napoli (2004), Ancona Calcio (2004), AC Torino (2005), AC Perugia (2005), Como (2005), Reggiana (2005), Salernitana Sport (2005) and A.C. Venezia (2005). In addition, Parma went into administration and was re-founded as Parma Football Club S.p.A. (2004).
Previously, some of these clubs made money by cross-trading players using the football transfer market. This was a system whereby two or more players switched clubs, with or without exchanging money . This practice typically resulted in short-term financial benefit for the club, but in the long term it increased expenditure through 'amortization,' or the depreciation of players' financial value. In February 2003, a law was passed which allowed clubs to defer amortization expenses Articolo 18-bis Legge 91/1981, allowing clubs to avoid recapitalization through negative equity. Despite the law, many clubs continued to practice cross-trading in order to raise the short-term profit required to meet financial criteria for the 2003–04 season. The law was declared unconstitutional in 2005, causing some clubs to recapitalize and remove their amortization fund on or before 30 June 2007. Thus, the clubs had to overcome yet another capital shortfall, which later created controversy when reevaluating their brand and mortgaging to the banks.
Other scandals also involved inaccurate dating of profits obtained via the transfer of players. For example, Roma sold their Japanese international midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata for 55,000 million lire in July 2001, but the club documented the profit in their accounts for the 2000–01 season, claiming the deal was agreed to before the cut-off of the financial year, 30 June 2001.
Cross-trading deals were prevalent before 2003, when the injustices came to light. Examples include the deals involving Giuseppe Colucci and Alberto Maria Fontana (Roma–Verona, 12.5 billion lire); an exchange that involved Amedeo Mangone, Paolo Poggi and Sergei Gurenko for Diego Fuser, Raffaele Longo and Saliou Lassissi (Roma–Parma, 65 billion lire).
Other deals linked to this scandal included those of Matuzalém (Parma–Napoli, 14 billion lire); Manuele Blasi and Giuseppe Cattivera (Roma–Perugia, 18 billion lire); Paolo Ginestra and Matteo Bogani (Milan–Inter); Giammarco Frezza and Alessandro Frau (Inter–Roma, 8.8 billion lire) in 2001; Vratislav Greško and Matías Almeyda (Inter–Parma, €16M); Luigi Sartor and Sebastiano Siviglia (Parma-Roma, around €9M); Francesco Coco and Clarence Seedorf (Milan–Inter, €29M); Davide Bombardini and Franco Brienza (Palermo–Roma, 50% €5.5M); Gabriele Paoletti and Luigi Panarelli for Fontana–Frezza (Torino–Roma, 50% €10.5M) in 2002; and Rubén Maldonado and Gonzalo Martínez in January 2003.
In a broad sense, the scandal was a culmination of the period that the Italian media dubbed doping amministrativo (doping[-like] administration), bilanciopoli (balance sheet scandal), plusvalenze fittizie or plusvalenze fai-da-te (DIY profit). The Bologna president, Giuseppe Gazzoni Frascara, proclaimed his innocence and reported false accounting to the FIGC. Bologna, however, were also involved in cross-trading, such as the remaining 50% of the fee for Jonatan Binotto (10 billion lire) from Juventus for Giacomo Cipriani, Alessandro Gamberini and Alex Pederzoli in 2000, and Binotto to Internazionale for Fabio Macellari in 2001.
As FIGC was unable to prove that the football clubs intended to 'flop' the price of mature footballers, only deals involving youth players were punished.
|Martino Olivetti (50%) + €0.1M||Paolo Sammarco (50%)||€1.1M|
|Matteo Deinite (50%) + €0.25M||Salvatore Ferraro (50%)||€1.75M|
|Matteo Giordano (50%) + €0.225M||Alessandro Livi (50%)||€1.725M|
|Ronny Diuk Toma (50%) + €0.25M||Giuseppe Ticli (50%)||€1.75M|
|Simone Brunelli (50%) + €0.25M||Marco Varaldi (50%)||€1.75M|
|Roberto Massaro (50%)||Marco Donadel (50%)||€2M|
|Filippo Porcari (50%)||Mirko Stefani (50%)||€1M|
|Luca Ferretti (50%)||Davide Favaro (50%)||€1M|
|Ikechukwu Kalu (50%) + €1M cash||Luca Antonini (50%)||€2M|
|Emanuele Calaiò (redeem 50%)||Alessandro Cibocchi (redeem 50%)|
|Gonzalo Martínez (50%)||Alessandro Pierini|
|Andrea Sottil (50%)|
|Mohammed Gargo (50%)||Valon Behrami (50%)|
|Vittorio Micolucci (50%)||Rodrigue Boisfer (50%)|
However, in another line, the liquidator of Como pointed out it's failure to Preziosi. The accusation suggested that the owner had transferred the asset of Como to Genoa at an uneconomical price, whilst the liquidator of Fiorentina had found that the date of player profit and cross-trading were wrong in the balance sheet. The failure of Perugia was also under investigation. The fall of Spezia Calcio was also linked to it's previous owner Internazionale.
Moreover, a separate charge related to Brunelli's was exposed in 2007. Brunelli claimed the signature on the transfer document was not his and that he knew nothing when transferred from Milan to Internazionale. Brunelli was banned for two months from football, although he was retired at the time . Brunelli's agent was charged and dismissed. Brunelli sued Internazionale for negligence and forcing him to retire. This was also dismissed. Lazio were acquitted in 2007 as well as Juventus. Roma were fined by the court of Rome.
In January 2007, the prosecutor exposed the alleged false account of Crespo (cash-plus player swap) and Domenico Morfeo (failure of Fiorentina) and an ongoing investigation of Parma, as Amauri was signed by Parma from Napoli as a free agent but a massive agent fee was also paid. Amauri did not have EU citizenship and Italian clubs were commonly buying the non-EU registration quota from other clubs.
While the club sold the brand to their subsidiaries and mortgaged them, such as Inter Milan on "Inter Brand", A.C. Milan on "Milan Entertainment", A.S. Roma on "Soccer S.A.S. di Brand Management", "S.S. Lazio Marketing & Communication S.p.A.", the moves was attracted Guardia di Finanza to visit Co.Vi.Soc. of Italian Football Federation to collect information. However, no further action was taken.
The financial crimes committed by the Italians were grouped into three sub-categories. Fraudulent bankruptcy was a major crime committed whereby rich Italians would illegally try and hide their assets through the purchase of football teams. Money laundering was also a massive crime during this time. Owners of football clubs in Italy would hide large reserves of black money. Illegal betting was arguably the biggest problem during this period in Italian football. Matches were pre-determined to allow both gamblers and bookmakers to make maximum illegal profit.
- The Company: €90,000 fine.
- Adriano Galliani (Vice-President): €60,000 fine.
- The Company: €90,000 fine.
- Massimo Moratti (Owner) €10,000 fine.
- Gabriele Oriali (technical director) €10,000 fine.
- Mauro Gambaro (ex-CEO) €20,000 fine.
- Rinaldo Ghelfi (ex-CEO and by-then Vice-President) €20,000 fine.
- The Company: €400,000 fine.
- Giovanni Blondet: €15,000 fine.
- Enrico Preziosi: Banned 4 months and €15,000 fine.
- The Company: €400,000 fine.
- Pasquale Foti: Banned 1 month and €20,000 fine.
- The Company: €400,000 fine.
- Franco Soldati (President): Banned 3 months and €30,000 fine.
- Pierpaolo Marino (by-then Vice-President): €15,000 fine.
- The Company: €50,000 fine.
- Luca Campedelli (owner): €40,000 fine.
- Giovanni Sartori (sports director): €15,000 fine.
- Maurizio Zamparini (President): Banned 6 months
- Rino Foschi (Sports director): Banned 3 months
- The Company: €20,000 fine.
- Luigi Agarini (President): Banned 7 months
- Luca Ferramosca (President): Banned 6 months
- Giovanni Lombardo (CEO, Italian: Amministratore Delegato): Banned 3 months
- Stefano Dominicis(CEO, Italian: Amministratore Unico): Banned 6 months
- Enrico Preziosi 5-year ban
- Massimo D'Alma 3-year ban
- Aleardo Luciano Guido Dall'Oglio 6-month ban
- Genoa: €150,000 fine.
Sampdoria denied any wrongdoing in the Kalu–Antonini transfer. Zamparini, the president of Palermo, insisted the fine was heavy, as the cross-trading was under previous ownership (Sensi). The club just chose to defer to amortize the €10 million transfer fee of Franco Brienza (like every other club on flopped signing prior to 2002), instead of write-down €10 million immediately in order to reflect in the 2002–03 financial year.
- List of Italian football transfers summer 2000 (co-ownership)
- List of Italian football transfers summer 2001 (co-ownership)
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