Italian prosecutors said on Tuesday (Sept 22) they had evidence that the language exam taken by Barcelona striker Luis Suarez to obtain Italian citizenship ahead of a possible move to Juventus was rigged.
Suarez, whose Uruguayan wife is of Italian descent, passed the exam last Thursday at the University for Foreigners in Perugia.
It cleared the way for a fast-track citizenship approval which would mean Juventus could sign him without exceeding its permitted quota of non-European Union players, but suspicions were quickly raised in the media that he was given preferential treatment.
Perugia chief prosecutor Raffaele Cantone said his investigations showed the questions had been agreed with Suarez ahead of the exam and it had already been decided what mark to give him, despite his scarce knowledge of Italian.
Police searched the university on Tuesday 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.
Uruguayan international Suarez, however, is not cited among those under investigation.
La Repubblica published alleged conversations tapped by police during their probe, in which a tutor preparing him for the exam told a colleague “he can’t speak a word,” and described him as an absolute beginner in Italian.
The 33-year-old obtained the intermediate B1 qualification required for citizenship in just 15 minutes, his examiner said after the test, and was only required to do the oral part of the exam.
Other citizenship applicants taking the B1 exam on the same day in Rome, had to also complete a written paper lasting two-and-a-half hours.
Suarez’s mooted transfer to Juve is reportedly dead in the water, as the Serie A champions have moved to sign striker Alvaro Morata from Atletico Madrid, who reportedly are closing in on the former Liverpool star.