In all territories, there are strong linkages between certain teams and these links are liable to have a significant effect on the real market price when the teams meet.
For the purposes of this post, we will focus on Serie A. In Italy, the larger teams have a network of links to lower strata clubs. Such links create a win-win situation for the clubs involved.
Players are loaned and transferred between the clubs with favourable financial arrangements and hidden agendas. Milan and Inter are currently under investigation by COVISOC (the financial overseer of the FIGC) regarding eight transfers between the teams in 2002/03. None of the players ever turned out for their new outfit and accounting irregularities have forced Galliani and Moratti into the dock. Where is Berlusconi when you need him? This investigation is unusual in that i) it is taking place at all and ii) it is backdated by several seasons (something Lord Stevens and Quest and the Premier League patently failed to do in the bungs whitewash in England).
Aside from the movement of labour and creative accounting, linked clubs are also able to be of mutual assistance within the season. Two examples involving Juve as they are currently in Serie B. When Giovanni Agnelli (Mr Fiat and Mr Juventus) died in 2003, the Old Lady's next game was against one of their linked teams, Piacenza. This was not a competitive match. Neither was the Siena game at the end of last season where 3 goals in the first 6 minutes sorted the outcome. A rarer occurrence bestows victory on the lesser of the linked teams when motivational dichotomies allow.
Additionally, linked clubs in Italy often play out agreed draws if such an outcome is beneficial to both outfits - the shorter fixed odds prices on a drawn outcome in Serie A and B are indicative of this structure (Ladbrokes are longer than 2/1 about only one Serie A match this weekend).
Finally, there are the mafia and political links between teams. Napoli, Palermo and Reggio Di Calabria (Reggina) have opaque arrangements for their encounters. Reggina and Palermo meet this weekend in the Saturday night live game.
Livorno and Roma also meet this weekend and both clubs share political affiliations (although Livorno are significantly more revolutionary!). This event is further complicated by internal disputes at Livorno following the sacking of their manager after the Atalanta debacle.
Utilising creative analysis, lateral thinking and dietrologia is the route to profit when trading Serie A.