2004–10 Italian football scandal
2004–10 Italian football scandal is a football scandal regarding false accounting at Italian football clubs in the 2000s. The investigation started in 2004 and the last sentence was announced in 2010.
In the early 2000s, many Italian football clubs became bankrupt due to benefactors withdrawing financial support, including 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.
Previously, some of these clubs used the football transfer market to raise profits through cross-trading players, whereby two or more players switched clubs, with or without money changing hands. This practice typically resulted in short-term financial benefit but increased expenditure in the long term through 'amortization,' or depreciation of players' financial value. In February 2003, a law was passed to allow clubs to defer amortization expenses Articolo 18-bis Legge 91/1981, allowing clubs to avoid recapitalization through negative equity. Many clubs still practiced cross-trading, however, to raise the short-term profit required to meet financial criteria for the 2003–04 season. The law was considered unconstitutional in 2005, causing clubs to recapitalize, if necessary, and remove their amortization fund on or before 30 June 2007. Thus, the clubs had to overcame another capital shortfalls, which later created controversy on reevaluating their brand and mortgaging to the banks.
Other scandals also involved inaccurately 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 also very common before 2003. 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 the scandal include 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 the 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, declared 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 failed to prove 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|
|Milan ||Internazionale |
|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|
|Milan ||Sampdoria ||Fee|
|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%)|
|Genoa ||Udinese |
|Mohammed Gargo (50%)||Valon Behrami (50%)|
|Vittorio Micolucci (50%)||Rodrigue Boisfer (50%)|
In another line, the liquidator of Como, however, pointed the failure of Como to Preziosi, which accused that the owner had transferred the asset of Como to Genoa at an uneconomical price, whilst the liquidator of Fiorentina had found the date of player profit and cross-trading was also wrong in the balance sheet. The failure of Perugia was also under investigation. The fall of Spezia Calcio was also linked to 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 is retired. Brunelli's agent was charged and dismissed, and Brunelli sued Internazionale for negligence and forcing him to retire. This was also dismissed. Lazio was acquitted in 2007 as well as Juventus. Roma was 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 following punishments were given to individuals:
- Enrico Preziosi 5-year ban
- Massimo D'Alma 3-year ban
- Aleardo Luciano Guido Dall'Oglio 6-month ban
- Genoa: €150,000 fine.
- AC Milan
- 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.
- 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
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.
Failure to recapitalize and balance sheet related scandals still occurred, namely Treviso, S.S.C. Venezia, Gallipoli Acireale, Pergocrema, and board members of the clubs were given heavy fines.
Some research had also stated the effectiveness of indicator by Covisoc to determine the financial health of the football club.
- List of Italian football transfers summer 2000 (co-ownership)
- List of Italian football transfers summer 2001 (co-ownership)
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