In Italy, footballer Luis Suárez at the heart of an investigation for suspicions of cheating

Lorenzo Rocca is a straightforward professor who, since the early 2000s, has been teaching Italian to newcomers at the Perugia University for Foreigners. A quiet post in a somewhat sleepy university town, in the heart of the Umbrian hills. Nothing, therefore, that could predispose to the limelight. However, since September 22, Professor Rocca has been at the heart of an incredible controversy, the consequences of which seem to go beyond him completely. His name is indeed associated with that of one of the biggest stars of current football, Luis Suárez, in the context of a corruption case aimed at making him fraudulently obtain an Italian passport.

The facts date back to September 17. That day, the 33-year-old Uruguayan international striker, 59 national goals and nearly 200 in the FC Barcelona shirt, goes to Perugia for what is presented as a routine examination: it is about obtain a certificate attesting to his minimum proficiency (level B1) in Dante’s language, an essential formality for him to be issued a passport which would make his transfer to Juventus Turin possible. Indeed, Juve already has two non-EU players in its workforce, the maximum provided by the rules of the Italian championship. In theory, therefore, it could not buy an African or South American recruit without getting rid of one of them.

Magistrat incorruptible

But, having been married since 2009 to an Uruguayan from Friuli and having Italian citizenship, Luis Suárez therefore has the right to apply for nationality. Problem, since the Salvini decree-law of 2018, then imposed by the Minister of the Interior and President of the Northern League (far right), the conditions for granting the passport have been tightened. They are now suspended from an exam attesting to a certain mastery of the language.

Of course, this decree was not designed to complicate the lives of football stars, but the law is the law: Luis Suárez must therefore submit to the famous B1 test. According to the Italian sports press, in early September, the champion was supposed “Train with your wife”. The student must have been particularly serious: on September 17, Luis Suárez passed the test without a hitch. The case was even closed in half an hour (the exam usually lasts two hours). Then the footballer got back to his private jet and returned to Barcelona.

“With a salary of 10 million a year, you can’t blow everything up because he doesn’t have the B1. Stefania Spina, Director of the Assessment Center

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