2004–2010 Italian football scandal

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The 2004– 2010 Italian football scandal, also known as Caso Plusvalenze,[1] was a scandal over alleged false accounting at Italian football clubs. The investigation started in 2004 and concluded in 2010.

Background[edit]

In the early 2000s, various Italian football clubs declared bankruptcy as benefactors withdrew financial support. Investigations found a widespread culture of illegality. Involved football clubs included A.C. Fiorentina (2002), Monza (2004), S.S.C. Napoli (2004), Ancona Calcio (2004), Torino Calcio (2005), A.C. Perugia (2005), Como (2005), Reggiana (2005), Salernitana Sport (2005) and A.C. Venezia (2005). In addition, Parma went into administration (bankruptcy) and was re-founded as Parma Football Club S.p.A. (2004).

Previously, some of these clubs profited by cross-trading players using the football transfer market, wherein multiple players were exchanged between clubs, generally involving monetary consideration.[citation needed] This practice typically resulted in short-term financial benefit for the clubs, but in the long run it increased expenditure through 'amortisation,' (the counterpart for tangible assets is depreciation) of players' financial value. In February 2003, a law was passed that allowed clubs to defer amortisation expenses (Italian Law 91/1981, Article 18B), and avoid recapitalisation 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– 2004 season. The law was declared unconstitutional in 2005, which caused some clubs to recapitalize and remove their amortisation fund by 30 June 2007. As a result, the clubs had to overcome yet another capital shortfall, which later created controversy when re-evaluating their brand and mortgages to banks.

Scandals also involved inaccurate dating of profits obtained via player transfers. For example, in July 2001 Roma sold their Japanese international midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata for 55 billion lire, but the club documented the profit in their accounts for the 2000–01 season,[2] claiming that the deal was agreed to before the cut-off of the financial year, which was 30 June 2001 for most clubs.

Before 2003, when cross-trading was prevalent, many injustices became evident. Examples include deals involving Giuseppe Colucci and Alberto Maria Fontana (Roma–Verona, both 12.5 billion lire fee); and an exchange that involved Amedeo Mangone, Paolo Poggi and Sergei Gurenko for Diego Fuser, Raffaele Longo and Saliou Lassissi (Roma–Parma, both 65 billion lire transfer fees in total).

Other deals included those of Matuzalém and an anonymous player (Parma–Napoli, both 14 billion lire); Manuele Blasi and Giuseppe Cattivera (Roma–Perugia, both 18 billion lire); Paolo Ginestra and Matteo Bogani (Milan–Inter); Giammarco Frezza and Alessandro Frau (Inter–Roma, both 8.8 billion lire) in 2001; Vratislav Greško and Matías Almeyda (Inter–Parma, both €16M fee); Luigi Sartor and Sebastiano Siviglia (Parma-Roma, both around €9M fee); Francesco Coco and Clarence Seedorf (Milan–Inter, both €29M fee); Davide Bombardini and Franco Brienza (Palermo–Roma, 50% rights both €5.5M fee); Gabriele Paoletti and Luigi Panarelli for Fontana–Frezza (Torino–Roma, 50% rights both €10.5M fee) in 2002; Rubén Maldonado and Gonzalo Martínez in January 2003.

The scandal was a culmination of the period that the Italian media dubbed doping amministrativo[3] (doping[-like] administration), bilanciopoli (balance sheet scandal), plusvalenze fittizie or plusvalenze fai-da-te (DIY profit).[4] Bologna chairman Giuseppe Gazzoni Frascara proclaimed his innocence and reported false accounting to the Italian Football Federation.[2] Bologna, however, was also involved in cross-trading, as when the remaining 50% rights of Jonatan Binotto were acquired from Juventus by selling Giacomo Cipriani, Alessandro Gamberini and Alex Pederzoli in 2000 for the same total transfer fee, and for selling Binotto to Internazionale for Fabio Macellari in 2001.

The trading[edit]

Since the Italian Football Federation was unable to prove that the football clubs intended to "flop" the price of mature footballers, only deals involving youth players were punished.[citation needed]

Players received Fee
June 2003
Milan [5] Chiveo
Martino Olivetti (50%) + €0.1M Paolo Sammarco (50%) €1.1M[6]
Milan [5] Internazionale [5]
Matteo Deinite (50%) + €0.25M Salvatore Ferraro (50%) €1.75M[6]
Matteo Giordano (50%) + €0.225M Alessandro Livi (50%) €1.725M[6]
Ronny Diuk Toma (50%) + €0.25M Giuseppe Ticli (50%) €1.75M[6]
Simone Brunelli (50%) + €0.25M Marco Varaldi (50%) €1.75M[6]
Milan [5] Parma
Roberto Massaro (50%) Marco Donadel (50%) €2M[6]
Filippo Porcari (50%) Mirko Stefani (50%) €1M[6]
Luca Ferretti (50%) Davide Favaro (50%) €1M[6]
Milan [5] Sampdoria [5] Fee
Ikechukwu Kalu (50%) + €1M cash Luca Antonini (50%) €2M[6]
Torino Ternana
Emanuele Calaiò (redeem 50%) Alessandro Cibocchi (redeem 50%)
July 2003
Reggina Udinese
Gonzalo Martínez (50%) Alessandro Pierini
Andrea Sottil (50%)
January 2004
Genoa [7] Udinese [7]
Mohammed Gargo (50%) Valon Behrami (50%)
Vittorio Micolucci (50%) Rodrigue Boisfer (50%)

The investigation[edit]

In 2004, Roma and Lazio, followed by Milan and Internazionale, were investigated for false accounting.[8][9] Moreover, the liquidator of Como pointed out its failure to Preziosi. The accusation suggested that the owner transferred Como's assets to Genoa at an uneconomical price. On A.C. Fiorentina's side, the liquidator from the Court of Florence found that the date of player profit and cross-trading were wrong on the balance sheet.[10] Perugia's failure was also under investigation.[11] The fall of Spezia Calcio was also linked to its previous owner Internazionale.

A separate charge related to Brunelli's was exposed in 2007; Brunelli claimed that the transfer document did not contain his signature and that he knew nothing when he was transferred from Milan to Internazionale. Brunelli was banned for two months from football, even though he was retired at the time. Brunelli's agent was charged and dismissed, and Brunelli sued Internazionale for negligence, forcing Brunelli to retire. This trial was also dismissed.[12] Lazio[2] was acquitted in 2007 along with Juventus.[13] Roma was fined by the court of Rome.[2]

In January 2007, the prosecutor exposed the alleged false account of Crespo (cash-plus player swap) and Domenico Morfeo (failure of Fiorentina).[14] During an ongoing investigation of Parma,[15] a football player, 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 clubs 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", and "S.S. Lazio Marketing & Communication S.p.A.",[4] the move prompted Guardia di Finanza to visit Co.Vi.Soc. of Italian Football Federation to collect information.[16] However, no further action was taken.

Sporting Sentences[edit]

The following punishments were given to individuals:[5]

AC Milan[5]
  • The Company: €90,000 fine.
  • Adriano Galliani (Vice-chairman): €60,000 fine.
Internazionale[5]
Sampdoria[5]
Genoa[7][17][18][19]
Reggina[7]
  • The Company: €400,000 fine.
  • Pasquale Foti: Banned 1 month and €20,000 fine.
Udinese[7]
  • The Company: €400,000 fine.
  • Franco Soldati (chairman): Banned 3 months and €30,000 fine.
  • Pierpaolo Marino (by-then Vice-chairman): €15,000 fine.
Chievo[20][21]
Parma
Palermo
Ternana

Caso Como–Genoa[edit]

Aftermath[edit]

Sampdoria denied any wrongdoing in the Kalu–Antonini transfer.[25] Zamparini, the chairman of Palermo, insisted that the fine was heavy, as the cross-trading was under previous ownership (Sensi). The club 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 writing off €10 million immediately in order to appear in the 2002–03 financial year.[26]

Failure to recapitalize and balance sheet related scandals still occurred, namely Treviso, S.S.C. Venezia, Gallipoli Acireale, Pergocrema[27] and board members of the clubs were given heavy fines.

Some research had criticized the effectiveness of the indicators of FIGC's Covisoc on the actual financial health of the football club.[28]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Caso Plusvalenze, deferite Genoa, Udinese e Reggina". La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). 12 June 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Doping amministrativo Roma colpevole, Lazio no" (in Italian). 10 October 2007. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  3. ^ "A caccia del doping amministrativo tra plusvalenze e tasse non pagate". la Repubblica (in Italian). 27 February 2004. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Il "doping" nei conti dei big del pallone perdite complessive oltre i 68 milioni". la Repubblica (in Italian). 9 November 2006. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "COMUNICATO STAMPA" (PDF) (in Italian). FIGC. 12 June 2008. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i A.C. Milan S.p.A. bilancio (financial report and accounts) on 30 June 2003 (in Italian)
  7. ^ a b c d e "Deferimenti:archiviazione per Genoa, Udinese e Reggina" (in Italian). FIGC. 18 June 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  8. ^ "Sensi investigation rocks Roma". The Independent. 
  9. ^ "Calcio, doping amministrativo indagate anche Milan e Inter". la Repubblica (in Italian). 30 December 2004. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  10. ^ "PROCURA DELLA REPUBBLICA PRESSO IL TRIBUNALE DI FIRENZE" (PDF) (in Italian). Re-published by Fiorentina's fans site. 4 February 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 April 2003. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  11. ^ "C.U. N°24/CDN (2012–13)" (PDF) (in Italian). FIGC CDN. 28 September 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  12. ^ "Caso-Brunelli Il Tribunale assolve l' Inter". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). 30 May 2007. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  13. ^ "Moggi was cleared in a false accounting case". Four Four Two. 24 November 2009. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  14. ^ "Crespo-Morfeo, indagine sui contratti" (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. 2007-01-26. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  15. ^ "Caso Parmalat, Laguardia: "Amauri credeva di essere del Napoli, e non di proprietà del Parma"". Calciomercato.com (in Italian). (Archived by www.areanapoli.it). 9 February 2010. Archived from the original on 9 February 2010. Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  16. ^ "Cessione del marchio La Guardia di Finanza fa visita alla Covisoc". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). 31 January 2007. Retrieved 21 January 2016. 
  17. ^ Editorial, Reuters. "Three Serie A clubs fined for false accounting". 
  18. ^ "Comunicato Ufficiale (C.U.) N°66/CDN (2007–08)" (PDF) (in Italian). Italian Football Federation (FIGC) Commissione Disciplinare Nazionale (CDN). 18 June 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  19. ^ "Udine, indagati Pozzo e Pierpaolo Marino" (in Italian). Tutto Mercato Web. 31 July 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  20. ^ "Plusvalenze: Chievo Verona multato - TUTTOmercatoWEB.com". 
  21. ^ "C.U. N°3/CDN (2008–09)" (PDF) (in Italian). FIGC CDN. 10 July 2008. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  22. ^ "Comunicato Ufficiale N°105/CDN (2008–09)" (PDF) (Press release) (in Italian). FIGC. 22 June 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  23. ^ "C.U. N°91/CDN (2009–10)" (PDF) (in Italian). FIGC CDN. 9 June 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  24. ^ "Comunicato ufficiale no. 379". Lega Calcio (in Italian). 11 June 2007. Archived from the original (pdf) on 20 December 2010. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  25. ^ "Comunicato stampa: chiusa la vicenda plusvalenze" (in Italian). UC Sampdoria. 12 June 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  26. ^ "Zamparini e Foschi inibiti". La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). 9 June 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  27. ^ COMUNICATO UFFICIALE N. 85/CDN (2010/2011)
  28. ^ THE ROLE OF FINANCIAL INDICATORS IN THE LIFE OF ITALIAN FOOTBALL CLUBS