Italian police investigate claims Luis Suárez’s citizenship exam was rigged

Italian police investigate claims Luis Suárez’s citizenship exam was rigged

A university in the Italian city of Perugia has said it followed “correct procedures” after authorities announced an investigation into whether it helped the Barcelona striker Luis Suárez cheat in an Italian language exam.

The Uruguayan sat the exam last week at the University for Foreigners. It is a requirement for his Italian citizenship application, which would give him a European passport that could help him to transfer to a new club.

“In relation to the investigations in progress, the University for Foreigners reaffirms the correctness and transparency of procedures that were followed for the examination taken by footballer Luis Suárez and trusts that this will emerge quickly from the checks that are in progress,” the university said on Tuesday in a statement.

Authorities in Perugia are investigating the university’s director and general director, but not Suárez. His exam questions and grade were allegedly fixed before he took the test last week.

“From the investigation it has emerged that the themes covered by the exam were previously agreed with the candidate and that the relative grade was attributed even before [it was sat], despite [the candidate] having been found to have an elementary knowledge of the Italian language during distance lessons held by university teachers,” Raffaele Cantone, the prosecutor of Perugia, said in a statement.

Suárez, who has been linked with Juventus, has Italian ancestors. Reports in the Italian press claim his tutor told an examiner he could not “utter a word of Italian” and so needed help to pass in order not to “blow up a 10-million-a-season salary just because he doesn’t have a B1”. A B1 is the document required to show Italian language competency for citizenship.

Much fanfare was made of his trip to Perugia last week, with the local airport issuing a statement boasting about the VIP passengers who had recently passed through, including erroneously citing Boris Johnson.