The Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) have identified, over the past five years, 250 footballers who have been the target of illegal immigration, and most of the cases were practiced by managers of amateur clubs or lower level clubs.
Jornal de Notícias states that, in the last five years, SEF investigated 57 football clubs in mainland Portugal and in the autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira on suspicion of crimes of illegal immigration and human trafficking. These investigations resulted in 93 defendants, including 62 managers, 13 agents, 12 athletes and a coach.
A source from SEF quoted by the newspaper reveals that most of these athletes enter Portugal under the visa exemption for short stays, that is, for tourism, "which does not allow the exercise of professional activity".
In the investigations carried out by SEF, crimes of forgery of documents in the elaboration of false employment contracts with companies of people linked to the clubs were also found. According to the newspaper, "officially they are, for example, construction workers, but in practice they just play football."