Euro 2020 Special
 

Juventus hit with points deduction: Sanctioned for transfer misdealings

Introduction

Serie A side Juventus have been hit with a 15 point deduction by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) after an investigation into the club’s previous dealings in the transfer market.

They face accusations of false accounting by inflating their balance sheet with artificial gains on transfers.

In November, the club’s entire board, including former president Andrea Agnelli and ex vice president, Pavel Nedved (and a Ballon d’Or winner as a player) resigned.

Juventus have consistently denied doing anything wrong, and have indicated that they are intending to resign.

However, as it stands, the penalty drops them from third in the table to tenth.

 

Background

With the club’s finances heavily hit by the pandemic, executives at the club adopted an aggressive accounting treatment by amortising the cost of buying a player over several years, but booking the full gain from their sale in the year that it occurs. Whilst this is not illegal, it was definitely in the realm of grey area.

Public prosecutors later discovered that the amount of these artificial gains could be as much as £130 million over the course of several years, and that all the executives at the club were fully aware of what was happening.

It should be pointed out that Juventus were not the only club accused. Initially, they, alongside 10 other clubs, including Napoli, the current league leaders, were cleared of such charges.

However, in December, the Federal Prosecutor decided to re-open the case after appealing that verdict.

The sanction imposed is more severe than that sought by the Turin Prosecutor – they had been pressing for a nine point deduction.

 

Individuals sanctioned

In addition to the club, a number of individuals have been sanctioned as well.

Agnelli and former chief executive Maurizio Arrivabene have both been given one year bans from the game, whilst former sports director, Fabio Paratici, who now works as Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur, has been given a 30 month ban.

His successor in the job, Federico Cherubini, has been given a 16-month ban.

Although the bans just apply to Italian football for now, the FIGC says that they intend to apply to FIFA and UEFA to have them extended worldwide.

Other clubs could also face penalties

Other clubs could also face sanctions. Of the original 11 clubs charged, nine teams, plus various executives associated with them, are once again being investigated by prosecutors, with Sampdoria and Empoli among them.

 

Biggest scandal since Calciopoli

This is arguably the biggest scandal to hit Italian football since Calciopoli, which also had Juventus at the heart of it.

That revealed that Juventus and several other leading clubs at the time had been involved in selecting referees and match officials for games guaranteed to give favourable decisions on the pitch for them.

Juventus were stripped of their 2004-2005 league title, and relegated to Serie B. The other clubs involved – AC Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio and Reggina – faced a range of penalties, ranging from points deductions and fines, to having to play several home games behind closed doors.

 

A further blow to Juventus finances

If the points deduction remains, it will make it much harder for Juventus to claim one of the Champions League places this season, which will be a further blow to their already rocky finances.

Towards the end of last year they announced record losses, and they are already out of this season’s Champions League, and face a round of 32 tie in the Europa League next month.

They are one of the three surviving members of the European Super League project, but, following a landmark ruling from the European Courts last month, that appears now to be dead in the water.

All this is a swift fall from grace for the most successful club in the history of Italian football. Under Agnelli, they won mine consecutive titles in a row, but have had to watch both Milan clubs win the Scudetto since the last of their successes.

 

Their problems may not be over

This may not be the end of their problems either. They are also under investigation from UEFA over potential breaches to their club licensing conditions, and Financial Fair Play (FFP) breaches. If found guilty, they potentially face being excluded from European football for several seasons. That might be catastrophic for them financially.

   

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