Police have uncovered a sick operation which is helping greedy football stars to cash in on bereavement.
Top players are faking the deaths of close relatives to improve their standing among fans and help increase their wages, said police.
One senior officer revealed: 'The idea seems to have come about after 'Fat' Frank Lampard recently lost his mum. All of a sudden he went from an overpaid prima donna vilified for being greedy and lazy, in the eyes of many fans, to our nation's greatest hero."
Holding back a tear, the officer added: "He is so brave though. He took a penalty within days of losing his mother, God bless him."
He continued: "What we have managed to work out is that other footballers saw how the public suddenly changed their view of Frank and have decided they want a piece of the action.
"They know a dead mum can get the fans off your back and more money in your pocket as it increases your negotiating leverage.
"Unfortunately, faking your mother's death for profit is a highly illegal action."
It is thought that the ring was uncovered when some of the players in on the act told their girlfriends what they were up to. This led to more than 400 'models' secretly approaching the Sunday newspapers to dish the dirt on their loved ones for profit, and the chance to appear across two pages wearing a cowboy hat and thong.
A PFA spokesman said: "We fully stand by our members' alleged actions. Being a footballer is the hardest job in the world and it's only a short career so they need these high rewards."