SHARE
COPY LINK

FOOTBALL

Juventus president’s ban over mafia-linked ticket scam ended after just three months

Juventus president Andrea Agnelli saw his one-year ban over a ticket sales scandal ended after less than three months on Monday, following an appeal to the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

Juventus president's ban over mafia-linked ticket scam ended after just three months
Andrea Agnelli. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

However, his 20,000 euro ($23,600) fine for his role in the bulk sale of tickets to 'ultras' fans with links to organized crime, was increased to 100,000 euros.

Juventus also saw their fine doubled from 300,000 euros to 600,000 euros while the club's first match of 2018 will be played without fans in its Curva Sud end where the main ultras groups gather.

Agnelli, 42, was hit with a one-year ban in September over the sale of tickets to supporters groups linked to the notorious 'Ndrangheta mafia who resold them for huge profits.

READ ALSO: How the Juventus women's team is shaking up Italian football

The Juventus chief had denied dealing with Rocco Dominello, a supporter close to the Calabria-based 'Ndrangheta, but did admit to having met him. Dominello was sentenced to seven years in jail for his role in the affair.

Three other Juventus officials were also banned for a year and fined 20,000 euros by the FIGC.

Juventus appealed to the FIGC federal appeals court and two of the three officials had their bans quashed. However, the third, Francesco Calvo remains suspended.

No Juve official was tried by the Turin prosecutors that led the investigation into the ticket scam, although Agnelli appeared as a witness. The Italian federation had found him and Juve guilty of breaking ticket sale rules by allowing ultras groups to bulk buy even though regulations allow for only four tickets to be purchased at a time.

READ ALSO: Juventus fans in mafia grip, say Italian justice officials

MAFIA

Italian police seize €250 million and arrest 56 in latest mafia blitz

In its latest mafia sting, Italian police took down a large 'Ndrangheta ring in southern Calabria, placing 56 people under investigation including a regional councillor and a former head of the regional tourism board.

Italian police seize €250 million and arrest 56 in latest mafia blitz

The early-morning blitz by over 300 police focused on areas of Calabria – Italy’s poorest region – under the control of the Mancuso clan, a powerful branch of the infamous ‘Ndrangheta, many of whose top operatives are among hundreds of defendants in an ongoing ‘maxi-trial’.

Fifty-six people, many already in prison, were put under criminal investigation for a series of crimes including mafia-related conspiracy, extortion, kidnapping, bribery and possession of weapons, police and prosecutors said.

READ ALSO: ‘Ndrangheta: It’s time to bust some myths about the Calabrian mafia

Besides alleged mafia members, the operation also snared businessmen, a regional councillor released from prison days earlier, a former head of the regional tourism board and two civil servants, police said.

The incarcerated boss of the clan, Luigi Mancuso, also known as “The Supreme”, is the biggest mafioso in the massive mafia trial that started in January 2021.

Still, police said, his clan and affiliates, including the La Rosa and Accortini families, have continued to dominate illegal activities in the Vibo Valentia province, which is located right on the toe of Italy’s boot and is widely known as the ‘Coast of the Gods’ due to its stunning coastal views.

One mafia scheme involved the infiltration of a foreign tour operator in Pizzo Calabro, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea.

No one talks

In Calabria, the extent of the ‘Ndrangheta’s reach in the local economy has made it near impossible to eradicate it.

By controlling the bulk of cocaine flowing into Europe, the ‘Ndrangheta has surpassed Sicily’s Cosa Nostra in power and wealth. It has extended far beyond its rural roots and now operates internationally, with illegal gains reinvested in the legitimate economy.

In the area around Vibo Valentia, extortion of local businesses and the fixing of public tenders is also common.

The allegations against those arrested Thursday include the transport and sale of stolen farm machinery to Malta and Romania, police said.

The sting carried out on Thursday extended to other parts of Calabria, Palermo in Sicily and as far as Rome and Milan, police said.

READ ALSO: Meet Nicola Gratteri, the prosecutor leading Italy’s battle against the mafia

In a press conference, anti-mafia prosecutor Nicola Gratteri, whose efforts to defeat the ‘Ndrangheta have forced him to live under police escort for over 30 years, called the group a “fierce mafia syndicate” controlling areas around the tourist resort of Tropea.

Francesco Messina, who leads Italy’s organised crime investigative unit (DAC), cited the economic power of the clan, which relies locally on “substantial” extortion activity.

The “total absence” of complaints to authorities was striking, Messina said, underscoring the ‘Ndrangheta’s power to intimidate.

By Alexandria Sage

SHOW COMMENTS