Football

Luis Suarez's Italian exam for passport was rigged: Prosecutor

Barcelona forward Luis Suarez is suspected of cheating to pass his Italian language test with the help of his teachers, the Perugia prosecutor's department in charge of the investigation said yesterday.

The Italian exam was a first step required for a passport ahead of a possible transfer to Juventus, a move which has since been abandoned.

"The investigation showed that the subjects discussed during the exam were agreed beforehand with the candidate and that the grade was awarded to him even before the test," the prosecutor's department said in a statement.

Local prosecutor Raffaele Cantone, a former head of Italy's National Anti-Corruption Authority, had been carrying out a probe since February into University for Foreigners officials over various irregularities.

The university denied any wrongdoing, saying in a statement that it had acted with "correctness and transparency", and was confident this would emerge at the end of the probe.

Police searched the university yesterday looking for further evidence, Cantone said in a statement, while Italian newspaper la Repubblica reported that five university employees had been put under investigation, including the rector.

Suarez needed an Italian passport as Juventus had already reached their quota for non-EU players.

But Juve coach Andrea Pirlo said last Saturday that a proposed deal for Suarez was unlikely to go ahead because of delays in the Uruguayan's bid to get the Italian passport.

The Serie A champions have moved to sign Atletico Madrid forward Alvaro Morata, who underwent a medical yesterday.

The 27-year-old Spaniard, who played for Juventus from 2014 to 2016, looks set to be replaced by Suarez at Atletico. - REUTERS, AFP

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