Another Scandal for Juventus
Hannah looks at Turin’s giants, Juventus, who have been docked 15 points following an investigation into the club’s past transfer dealings.
Last week, on 20 January, Juventus were found to be guilty of capital gains violations which has resulted in an immediate 15 point deduction. The Italian Football Association’s sporting tribunal found the club guilty of wrongdoing and so handed the Serie A giants a significant penalty which plunged the club from third in the top flight to 10th.
The penalty comes 17 years after the “Calciopoli” refereeing scandal that saw Juventus demoted to Serie B and stripped of two Serie A titles.
So how did Juventus end up here?
Juventus were just one of eleven clubs who were all accused of false accounting where they were supposedly inflating player’s value. In April 2022, all 11 clubs alongside 59 executives were acquitted of all charges as it was found it is impossible to objectively determine the value of a player.
Although Juventus were initially acquitted of all charges the investigation was reopened in December after the federal prosecutor appealed the ruling. The request to reopen the trial and apply sanctions concerned nine of the original 11 clubs investigated, including Serie A sides Juventus, Empoli and Sampdoria , as well as 52 executives at those clubs.
The reopening of this case followed fresh evidence from a separate investigation undertaken by prosecutors in Turin’s Public Prosecutor office into Juventus’ finances. The newly collected evidence eventually led to the ruling and points deduction that Juventus have been handed.
Juventus is listed on the Milan stock exchange, which also opens it to regulatory scrutiny by the Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOM) who are the government authority of Italy responsible for regulating the Italian securities market. Juventus are accused of secretly paying their players who they had said would be foregoing four months’ wages during Covid. Prosecutors allege that players only miss one month’s wages and were actually paid the rest. As a company that’s listed on the stock exchange, this would therefore be equivalent to market manipulation if it is proved true.
The 15 point deduction was a strong punishment, especially considering how prosecutors had previously recommended a nine-point deduction.
This strong punishment will seriously impact Juve’s chances of playing in Europe next season as they are now 25 points behind league leaders Napoli and 12 points away from the Champions League places. The club heavily relies on qualifying for Europe, financially and also in attracting top class players to the city.
The team in black and white have stated that they will appeal the decision to Italy’s highest sports court within the Italian Olympic Committee. Juventus stromgly deny any wrongdoing
It is not just the club as a whole that has been punished. Multiple individuals have also been sanctioned including Tottenham’s current director of football Fabio Paratici. Paratici has been handed a two-and-a-half-year ban from the sport however Tottenham are urgently seeking clarification as to whether the ban extends beyond Italian borders.
11 former and current Juventus officials have been charged and handed sanctions also including former Juventus president Andrea Agnelli and former club CEO Maurizio Arrivabene, who have both been banned from the game for two years. Juventus won nine Serie A titles in a row during Andrea Agnelli’s 13 year span however they only managed to finish fourth last season whilst also loosing £220 million pounds – a record in Italy.
Andrea Agnelli was also one of the chief architects of the plans to form a European Super League in 2021, which caused severe backlash resulting in his resignation as chairman of the European Club Commission. This indicates how crucial European football is to the club and emphasises what a precarious situation the club would be in if they failed to qualify by the end of the season.
Worryingly for Juventus, they could face further penalties from UEFA as there are ongoing investigations concerning potential breaches of its club licensing and financial fair play regulations.
Juventus have had all the glory in Italian football however, there is no denying that this points deduction will seriously impact the club and it could possibly just be the beginning of a long line of sanctions coming their way.
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