Juventus, the most successful team in the history of Italian football are in crisis after their entire board stepped down.
The club is facing allegations of mis-dealings in the transfer market, and has recently posted a record financial loss.
They have also got issues on the pitch. They are currently ten points drift in the league of runaway leaders Napoli, and their Champions League campaign is already over for another season.
Italy are not in Qatar, their side having failed to qualify for the World Cup finals. However, their football teams are still managing to make sporting headlines.
In a meeting on Monday night (November 28th) it was decided that the entire board would step down. That included President Andreas Agnelli, vice-president (and former player) Pavel Nedved, and Maurizio Arrivabene, the Managing Director. The decision is linked to the ‘alleged” involvement in the Prisma investigation, which is being undertaken by a team from the Turn Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The Prisma investigation
The investigation has been looking into alleged false accounting and market manipulation at the Italian club between 2019 and 2021, as well as an investigation into the Serie A side’s transfer activity, focusing on the treatment of player registration rights, and the issuing of false invoices.
Reports suggest that as many as 15 people at the club are being separately investigated for their role in the affair.
At this stage, no other clubs in Italy, or any from abroad, have been implicated in the matter.
Why they resigned
The board took the decision because they believe that it is in the best interest of the club if new directors are in place to address the various issues facing it. Arrivabene will continue in an interim capacity until the new board is in place.
However, it may be no coincidence that the initial stage of the investigation is now concluded, and the Turin prosecutor may now bring charges.
Juventus recorded a £219 million loss for the 2021/2022 season which is a record for any Italian club. In fact, the situation may be worse than that with suggestions that the club understated losses between 2018 and 2020 (the year that all football clubs were badly hit by the effect of the global pandemic).
The European Super League
Agnelli was one of the main architects of the European Super League (ESL) , the plan by 12 of the richest clubs in Europe to break-away from their domestic league structures and form their own competition,
The initiative, which was launched in April 2020, foundered within days, due to the intense opposition of fans, sports administrators and governments, with the six Premier League clubs involved with the plan stunned by the backlash and forced to beat a healthy retreat,
Three clubs – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus – though, remained committed to the project, although it has never been clear how they have enough weight collectively to make it feasible, A recent attempt to raise the issue again with executives of UEFA, European football’s governing body, met with short shrift.
Barcelona, like Juventus, have incurred huge losses and were hoping that the ESL would have been a major revenue generator for them.
Fall from grace
Although this represents a significant fall from grace for Juventus, who are the most successful team in the history of Italian football, having won the Scudetto a record 36 times, 17 times more than their nearest challengers Inter Milan.
(Diehard Juventus fans insist they have won 38 titles, two of which were stripped from the club for their role in the Calciopoli scandal –for which they were relegated to Serie B).
Between 2012 and 2020 they won nine successive titles. However, since then they have manged just two fourth place finishes, and they have failed to reach the knock-out stages of the Champions League in the last three editions of the tournament.
Nor are their fans exempt from criticism either, In September 2022 the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) launched an investigation into their behaviour after they were accused of uttering antisemitic chants in a match against Fiorentina.
Should they be found guilty they could be looking at a points deduction, a European ban, and potentially enormous fines, which would only exacerbate their financial problems further.
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