Italy’s top football club accused of mafia links

Italy's top football club accused of mafia links
Juventus supporters hold up a giant team jersey. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP
Juventus are consulting lawyers to protect the club's "honour and integrity" after a newspaper report linked club officials to hardline ultra-fans with organized crime connections via a ticket touting scam.

A report in Rome-based daily Il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper on Thursday claimed Juventus president Andrea Agnelli had met with ultra leader Rocco Dominello, who was arrested for association with the 'Ndrangheta.

The report claimed the Calabrian mafia organization infiltrated groups of ultra fans who follow the club, touting tickets supplied by Juventus for profit.

Dominello, reportedly introduced to Agnelli by another former ultra leader, was discovered to have links with the 'Ndrangheta during an investigation into several Turin-based families with links to the southern Italian criminal syndicate.

Juventus vehemently denied the claims surrounding Agnelli in a statement which said: “In light of certain articles published in recent days, Juventus Football Club and President Andrea Agnelli have entrusted the protection of their honour and integrity to lawyers.

“It is noted the Turin public prosecutor has recently concluded an investigation into certain families considered to belong to the 'Ndrangheta,who have been charged with criminal behaviour and the attempted infiltration of some of the activities of Juventus Football Club.

“It was also noted that no employee or affiliate has been investigated in criminal court. It is also noted that… the club has always co-operated by maintaining strict confidentiality to maintain the secrecy of the investigation.”

Juventus, bidding for a record sixth consecutive Serie A title, sit top of the Italian championship with a one-point lead on Roma ahead of Sunday's visit to Sassuolo.