Italian police investigate claims Suárez citizenship exam was rigged

Footballer allegedly knew questions in advance and his mark had already been decided.

Prosecutors in Italy are investigating allegations that an Italian language exam taken by Barcelona forward Luis Alberto Suàrez in the central Italian city of Perugia was rigged and that the Uruguayan footballer knew the questions in advance.

The 33-year-old former Liverpool striker sat the exam on 17 September at Perugia's University for Foreigners in order to obtain Italian citizenship, which would have granted him a European passport, pending a potential transfer to Juventus.

With the university’s director and general director now under investigation for "irregularities" relating to the footballer's exam, the Perugia university has issued a statement "reaffirming the correctness and transparency of procedures." 

Suàrez - a controversial player who in the past has faced suspension for biting and racially abusing opponents - is not under investigation in relation to the exam.

The Perugia prosecutor Raffaele Cantone claims that the investigation has uncovered that the exam's themes had been agreed with Suàrez in advance and that the grade was already attributed beforehand, despite the candidate having been found to have "an elementary knowledge of the Italian language during distance lessons held by university teachers.”

Italian newspaper La Repubblica cited a wiretap between two organisers of the exam who were allegedly recorded saying that Suàrez "does not speak a word of Italian. He does not conjugate verbs, he only speaks using the infinitive," adding that "with a salary of €10 million a season, he must pass, he will pass."

Juventus has already filled its quota of non-EU players who can join from a club outside Serie A this season, meaning that Suàrez - whose wife Sofia Balbi holds an Italian passport - could not have joined unless he obtained Italian citizenship.

In the meantime the potential transfer to Juventus has fallen through and Suárez will now be moving to Spanish side Atletico Madrid, ending his six-year career with Barcelona, during which he scored 198 goals in 283 appearances.

Photo credit: RemotePhotoPress / Shutterstock.com.

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Italian police investigate claims Suárez citizenship exam was rigged

Piazza Braccio Fortebraccio, 4, 06123 Perugia PG, Italy