What Happened and What Can Happen

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The blow was hard, and Juventus felt it: the Italian Football Association (FIGC) Court of Appeal handed the Bianconeri a 15-point deduction in the current Serie A season league table on Friday following an appeal in the capital gains (“plusvalenze”) case.

They also inflicted multiple banning to their former management members, including President Andrea Agnelli and Chief Football Officer Fabio Paratici, now at Tottenham.

The Court of Appeal’s ruling hit hard as the penalization handed was even bigger than what the federal prosecutor had requested, i.e., nine points. Juventus were the only club penalized as the other eight teams involved in the investigation (Empoli, Genoa, Novara, Parma, Pescara, Pisa, Pro Vercelli, and Sampdoria) were acquitted.

Prosecutor Giuseppe Chinè’s requests included the revocation of Juventus’s previous acquittal in the capital gains trial and the handing of an afflictive measure quantifiable in a nine-point deduction. He opined that the penalty should be afflictive, since Juventus’ fictious capital gains have allowed the club to limit their losses, avoid recapitalization, and continue to operate on the transfer market in the past three seasons.

This resulted in an unfair advantage in the domestic competition and thus the penalty, to be afflictive, should have the effect of pushing the Bianconeri far from the table positions that give access to European football.

The Court’s ruling went beyond that and increased the sanction to 15 points. As an effect of the immediate demotion, Juventus plummeted to the 10th spot in the current Serie A table, 15 points adrift of the Champions League zone and 12 points far from a Conference League spot.

The ruling also included domestic bans for multiple members of the former board of the Old Lady. Fabio Paratici received a two-and-a-half-year ban while Andrea Agnelli was inhibited for two years. Former CEO Maurizio Arrivabene also received a two-year ban. The sanction for current football director Federico Cherubini was a 16-month inhibition, which means Juventus will lose the man at the helm of their transfer market operations.

Such bans were requested to be extended also at a UEFA and FIFA level, meaning that Paratici’s current job at Tottenham in the Premier League might be at risk.

The Court of Appeal will publish the motivations of their ruling in 10 days. Juventus can then appeal the decision to the Collegio di Garanzia dello Sport, which is the highest sports court within the Italian Olympic Committee. However, the Collegio cannot overturn the ruling. They can only urge the Court of Appeal to revisit their decision if they detect any error in the ruling proceedings or determine that the defendant’s rights have been violated.

The Juventus standpoint is clear as they deny any wrongdoing. The club issued a statement where they highlight that they were already acquitted by the National Federal Court from the charges of false accounting of capital gains. They confirmed that they plan to appeal the Court of Appeal’s ruling as soon as the motivations are published.

The club’s lawyers – Maurizio Bellacosa, Davide Sangiorgio, and Nicola Apa – also issued a statement, highlighting that they believe the Court’s decision to be “a clear disparity in treatment to the disadvantage of Juventus and their management versus any other club or member.” The lawyers’ note goes on to stress that “Juventus and their board are the only ones being charged with violation of a rule that the sports justice itself has repeatedly recognized as non-existent.”

But the problems might not be over for Juventus. The club is still under the Court of Appeal’s lens also for the presumed agreements they made with some of their players, including Cristiano Ronaldo, to postpone payment of some salaries during the COVID pandemic. Such deferred payments were allegedly not recorded in their balance sheets, resulting in fiscal fraud.

Follow us on Google News for more updates on Serie A and Italian football

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