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Soccer

Italian police raid 41 club offices in "Sick Soccer" probe

Italian police have seized documents from 41 football club offices, including 18 from the country's top flight Serie A. The searches are part of a "Sick Soccer" tax fraud investigation relating to player transfers.

Financial police were executing search warrants Tuesday after prosecutors in Naples ordered the club offices to be searched.

The documents were seized as part of the "Sick Soccer" investigation that is looking to a "criminal conspiracy whose objective was to evade taxes through the systematic issuing of inexistent invoices" in player transfers, the court said in a statement.

The player transactions in question "took enormous quantities of cash away from tax authorities," according to the court.

Prosecutors said more than 30 Italian clubs were under investigation, 18 from the Serie A, including AC Milan, Juventus, Roma and Lazio, and 11 from the second tier Serie B, as well as others from lower leagues.

Nearly 10 unidentified foreign clubs are also being investigated. In addition, a dozen agents of both foreign and Italian players are being investigated, police said.

The investigation has reportedly been underway for a year.

dr/rg (Reuters, AP, dpa, SID)