International Lawyers Associates addresses all professional and semi-professional sports clubs of any type of sports discipline, as well as directly to athletes in need of legal assistance.
First of all, we would like to emphasize that our lawyers have years of experience in the naturalization programs of non-European athletes who have direct Italian ancestors: the intended purpose is often the recognition of Italian citizenship, to allow the membership of the athlete into the sports club with European nationality and to avoid the admission into the maximum quota established for foreigners admitted into a club. Our experts carry out the completion of the naturalization paperwork in an average period not exceeding 90 days; in the most rarest of cases, the time required for naturalization is one year.
The staff of ILA also provides consultation services regarding the application and renewal of necessary permits, granted by the Police Authority to players and foreign athletes that compete in official tournaments in Europe.
The firm also provides serious and meticulous criminal assistance where there is a case of sports fraud. We would like to specify that the concept of “sports fraud”, includes all those acts and those behaviors “aimed at altering the course or result of a game or competition or to assure anyone an advantage in the standings” (definition contained in item 6 paragraph 1 of the Judicial Sports Code of the FIGC).
According to Law 401/89 sports fraud crime is divided into two particular cases:
1) “Sports corruption” or the offer or promise of money or other benefits, both material and moral, to someone comepeting in the sports event, to affect the outcome of the same; the second case is defined as “free-form fraud” or targeted fraudulent actions in order to obtain a result different from the one obtained if the competition is carried out in a fair and proper manner.
It is important to remember that in order to consider the crime of “sports corruption” it is not essential that a promise or money is given, or even that the objective is reached, it is sufficient that “anyone”, extraneous to the sports competition, has made or makes a serious promise to a participant in the competition itself.
For example, an offer made to the referee of expensive gifts or trips to luxury resorts, so that he will favor one team over another; or the promise of signing on a contract made to an athlete or as the testimonial of an important advertisement, so that the same athlete will do anything to make the opposing team win.
In other words: “It is sufficient that the offer and/or corruptive promise be brought to the attention of the participants. It is not required that the offer and/or promise is accepted, nor that the result of the competition is altered in any way: what matters is the existence of the periculum (or danger, damage), which undermines the integrity, morality and fairness of the sports competition.
Hence, the sports fraud crime “is consumed in the time and place when the promise or offering of an undue advantage or the commission of any other fraudulent conduct is carried out, and not if the promise or offer is accepted” (Gip Trib. (Preliminary Hearing Judge) Rome 02/21/1992).
2) The other type of offense is that of “free-form fraud”, governed by item 1, paragraph 1 of Law 401/89, which implies the fulfillment of “other fraudulent acts carried out for the same purpose”; these actions, as for the previous offence, should be identified in the offer or promise of money or other benefits to some participants of a sports competition organized by any of the federations recognized by the CONI (Italian National Olympic Committee).
In this case the actual committing of the acts must be carried out, which must be fraudulent or misleading and aimed at altering the sports results. However, the effective obtainment of the result different from the one that was fraudulently programmed is pushed for. But if the result of the competition is influential for the regular execution of competitions, forecasts and bets then a major punishment will be applied.
It should also be noted that in the event that the sports corruption is accepted by the recipient, the latter will face criminal charges. In fact, the second paragraph of item 1 Law 401/89 states that “the same penalties [those provided by the first paragraph] shall apply to the participant in the competition who accepts money or other benefits or advantages, or accepts the promise”.
This provision punishes anyone who accepts money or other benefits, or even simply, accepts the promise.
All these illegal positions have already been successfully defended by senior members of International Lawyers Associates.