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Volume 6 No. 213

International Football

Italian financial police Tuesday "raided the offices" of more than 40 football clubs, including giants Juventus, AC Milan and Inter, "as part of a broad investigation into tax evasion and other alleged crimes involving player transfers," according to Gilles Castonguay of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The raids, ordered by the public prosecutor's office in Naples, come as the government "desperately looks for revenue to avoid further raising already high tax rates." In the raids, police seized documents including player contracts, but "they arrested no suspects." Police "conducted the raids on the offices of 41 clubs" -- 18 of them from Italy's top division Serie A and 11 from Serie B (WSJ, 6/25).

LONG LIST OF CHARGES: CNN reported the probe, involving more than 200 police officers, "is looking at more than 50 player transfers, in particular those arranged by two football agents" -- Argentine Alejandro Mazzoni and Italian Alessandro Moggi. Eight agents "are under investigation, while another four could potentially be drawn into the probe." The Italian Football Federation was not "immediately available for comment." Lega Calcio, the regulator of Italy's top two divisions, said, "At the moment the LNPA (Italian Football League) is not planning to release any official statement." The Naples police authorities "began the investigation last October, initially looking into Argentina international Ezequiel Lavezzi's Napoli contract." The 28-year-old moved to Paris St. Germain in a multi-million dollar deal last summer, though Italian authorities "have stressed that the players themselves are not under investigation" (CNN, 6/25). In London, Michael Day reported the warrants that magistrates handed to police "list conspiracy and money laundering, as well as international tax evasion and false invoicing." Investigators stressed that the investigation "was at an early stage" (INDEPENDENT, 6/25).

INTER BOSS 'CALM': FOOTBALL ITALIA wrote Inter Milan President Massimo Moratti "has refused to comment on revelations" that Italy's financial police raided the offices of football clubs. Moratti, however, has insisted that the San Siro side has "nothing to worry about." He said, "It was not a raid, but an acquisition of documents. I am very calm about it" (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 6/25).

Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop said that the momentum generated by Australia’s qualification for the 2014 World Cup and the upcoming sold-out friendlies involving ManU and Liverpool "can be captured and transferred to the A-League," according to Sebastian Hassett of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Having just seen more than 80,000 attend the final World Cup qualifier in Sydney against Iraq, some 100,000 are set to pack into the MCG for the match between Liverpool and Melbourne Victory on July 24, just four days after ANZ Stadium hosts the A-League All-Stars clash against ManU. Another 80,000-plus crowd "is expected for that game, with the match against the reigning English Premier League champions also being broadcast on Channel Seven" -- the first live football match on the network, outside the Olympics, in more than a decade. Gallop said, "The momentum is great to see but the task for us now is to maximize this very unique opportunity. There’s still hard work that needs to be done to make sure that we come out of this period with the game in a better position" (SMH, 6/25).

The Chinese FA "has apologized to fans for its incompetence in managing and developing the country's domestic game, in the wake of a humiliating loss to Thailand and the firing of the national coach." It accepted its "inescapable responsibility" and said that it will make every effort to strengthen the management of the national team (CHINA DAILY, 6/25). ... Spain has "dismissed a Brazilian media story accusing them of hosting a party" at its hotel in Recife "with alcohol, women and a game of strip-poker" after its Confederations Cup opener against Uruguay last week (REUTERS, 6/25).