Financial police in Naples, Italy on Tuesday executed search warrants for some 41 clubs in Serie A and lower divisions of Italian soccer, according to a report that first appeared in the Associated Press. The warrants issued were believed to be for the alleged conspiracy to avoid paying “huge amounts of money” to tax authorities for player transfers. The clubs, which include Serie A champion Juventus as well as AC Milan and Lazio, were also accused of “systemic” billing for nonexistent transactions.
The report points out that Italy on an ambitious crackdown recently as it tries to recover the estimated 20 percent of GDP that is lost to tax evasion every year. Among the high-profile athletes who have been caught up in the crackdown are seven-time motorcycling world champion Valentino Rossi and more famously former Napoli player Diego Maradona. There was no mention of any current players, team officials or sporting agents being placed under investigation in the report.