The Spanish National Police said on Tuesday that they have uncovered two rings which allegedly scammed dozens of families, mainly from Brazil, with false promises of turning their sons into elite footballers.
11 people have been arrested from two independent gangs, along with two others investigated, as alleged members of both organisations.
The investigations into ‘Operation Gol’ and ‘Alevines’ were carried out by agents of the Immigration and Border Brigade of the national police.
The two gangs ran football schools that recruited youths from well-off families abroad with ‘false expectations’ of turning them into ‘star professional players’, the police said in a statement.
The rings – which operated independently – would charge the families an initial fee of over €5,000 and then monthly payments of up to €1,700 per player, it added.
The gangs claimed the money was to cover tuition fees at the schools in the southern city of Granada (Andalusia), as well as food, housing and the paperwork to get a residency permit.
But instead, the youths ‘lived in houses provided by the clubs in cramped conditions, with little food and none of them managed to get legal residency’ in Spain, the statement said.
Police suspect the two gangs recruited around 70 youths, ‘mainly Brazilian’, between the ages of 16 and 23.
Police began their investigation after receiving a complaint from a player who had been recruited by one of the rings.
🚩Destapada una trama de #estafas a familias de niños extranjeros con falsas promesas de proyección en el fútbol profesional a través de dos escuelas de fútbol en #Granada— Policía Nacional (@policia) April 11, 2023
👉Pedían más de 5.000 euros y mensualidades de entre 1.500 y 1.700€ por jugador pic.twitter.com/RxDpFOqLh2