SPORTS SUIT: Tod’s chief Diego Della Valle was wearing his hat as owner of the Florence soccer team Fiorentina on Tuesday when he made a voluntary statement at a Naples appeal courthouse. In 2011, Della Valle and his brother Andrea — along with numerous other people — were found guilty of alleged sports fraud as part of a long-running Italian investigation into sports irregularities, defined here as “Calciopoli.”
“We never asked for any favors,” said Della Valle on Tuesday, referring to alleged requests made to a soccer referee. “I have wanted to say this for years. We were caught in the middle of the media forcing things.”
In Nov. 2011, the Della Valles were sentenced to a 15-month jail sentence, which they appealed, saying that it was “an unjust verdict” and determined to protect their rights “at all judicial levels.” The sentence has been suspended while the brothers appeal the decision, but it is unlikely they will ever serve jail time.
The Della Valles control the team through a personal holding, the Diego Della Valle & C. S.A.P.A. financial vehicle, which is separate from the publicly traded Tod’s. The investigation, which centered around the Juventus soccer club, covered numerous other presidents and owners of Italian teams, referees, designators and members of the country’s soccer federation.