Wednesday, 16 January 2008

FA calm Capello storm

The English FA has issued a brief statement insisting that Fabio Capello’s tax situation isn’t a matter for concern.

Reports emerged in Italian newspaper Il Giornale this morning that the new England manager was under investigation in Turin for holding off-shore accounts, which he used to avoid paying taxes.

"I have assured the FA today that my finances are in order," said the 61-year-old Italian in a statement. "And I am not aware of any matters which would be of concern.

"With my advisors, I have always endeavoured to conduct my financial business with integrity," Capello added.

"I understand that these inquiries in Italy are part of a wider investigation into the finances of many high-profile individuals."

Capello’s son Pierfilippo has admitted that a review of his father’s accounts was taking place, but has played down the significance of the probe.

It appears the FA has known about the matter for some time and is confident nothing substantive will emerge.

"It is our understanding that the Italian tax authorities are currently following a procedure of looking into the finances of a number of high-profile individuals," said an FA spokesman.

"We have spoken to Fabio and his advisors about today's newspaper reports in Italy and they have explained the facts.

"They have also given us their assurances that Fabio Capello's tax payments are in order. The FA have no further comment to make on this subject."

Capello - who will earn a reported £6m a year as England boss - added that the proceedings could now go two ways. Either the Italian courts will clear Capello and close the case or he will be asked to explain his earnings to them.

But he clearly expects it to be the former, pointing out that the vagaries of the Italian justice system have made the story appear more sensational than it apparently is.

On the basis that the tax authorities have no reason to believe Capello has committed any offence but are merely investigating his situation as a matter of routine, the case automatically involves the Italian courts because he is paid more than 200,000 euros per year.

As with anyone whose salary advances into the millions, Capello's financial dealings are likely to be complicated and he has assured the investigators he will provide any further information they require for clarification on any specific point.

It has also been confirmed that while Capello has spent plenty of time in Switzerland, at no time has he ever been domiciled in the country for tax purposes.

Capello’s first engagement as England boss is a friendly against Switzerland at Wembley Stadium on 6 February.

[Capello faces tax probe]

Source: C4 Football Italia / BBC / The FA

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