Pepe Reina, Paolo Cannavaro face Italian FA grilling over alleged mafia links

Gazzetta Dello Sport reported that Reina, 35, held a farewell party in a popular Naples nightclub owned by one of the Esposito brothers.

Published: 23rd May 2018 04:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd May 2018 04:13 AM   |  A+A-

Napoli's Spanish goalkeeper Pepe Reina celebrates during the Italian Serie A football match between Juventus and Napoli on April 22, 2018 at the Allianz Stadium in Turin. | AFP


MILAN: Footballers Pepe Reina, Paolo Cannavaro and Salvatore Aronica have been ordered to appear before an Italian Football Federation (FIGC) panel over their alleged association with people linked to the mafia, according to reports in Italy on Tuesday.

Naples' anti-mafia department opened an investigation and the FIGC's chief prosecutor Giuseppe Pecoraro has ordered the three players to appear before a disciplinary committee hearing on a date yet to be decided.

Both Cannavaro and Aronica played for Napoli for a few years, while former Liverpool goalkeeper Reina will leave Napoli this summer to move to AC Milan.

The three players will be questioned over allegedly "maintaining inappropriate relations" with the Esposito brothers Gabriele, Francesco and Giuseppe, who are alleged to be leading figures in Naples' Camorra mafia.

Gazzetta Dello Sport reported that Reina, 35, held a farewell party in a popular Naples nightclub owned by one of the Esposito brothers.

Reina and Cannavaro allegedly obtained free tickets for Napoli games for two of the brothers, with reports of an "exchange of favours".

FIGC prosecutors will also question representatives of three clubs, Napoli, Sassuolo and Palermo.

Three Napoli employees including team manager Paolo De Matteis and former head of ticketing Luigi Cassano must also appear before the FIGC hearing.

Cannavaro, 36, retired last December and joined his brother, 2006 World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro, on the coaching staff at Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande.

Reina -- who was on Spain's 2010 World Cup-winning team and is a two-time European champion from 2008 and 2012 -- first joined Napoli in 2013 on loan from Liverpool.

He moved to Bayern Munich the following year before returning to Naples in 2015.

During his club career he won the UEFA Super Cup, FA Cup and League Cup with Liverpool, a Bundesliga title with Bayern and the Italian Cup in 2014.

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