Soccer clubs probed over bogus visas for young African players

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Prato, July 21 (IANS/AKI) Italian police are investigating several football clubs for allegedly abetting the illegal entry into Italy of young African players, by helping them get false papers and fraudulent family reconciliation visas.

Many of the young African soccer players who entered Italy illegally are from Cote d’Ivoire, according to police.

Police issued four arrest warrants including for the presidents of two third-division clubs in Prato and Sestino in central Italy, a sports agent and an Ivorian woman as part of the probe which centre on the AC Prato club.

The offices of two unnamed Serie A teams and one Serie B team were searched on Thursday in the probe although the clubs were believed to have bought some of the young African players without knowing of the fraud, daily Gazzetta dello Sport reported.

Eleven other people including “numerous” young players from minor leagues were placed under investigation for match-fixing as part of the probe, police said.

–IANS

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