The top team in Italian football is in shambles after being docked 15 points for alleged financial misconduct.
Why were Juventus' points deducted?
In a statement released on Friday night, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) said that Juventus had been docked 15 points for “financial irregularities” and “false accounting” in connection with previous player transfers between clubs. The club is accused of boosting “capital gains” by artificially inflating player valuations during transactions in order to bolster its financial sheet. Since UEFA, the governing body of European football, implemented Financial Fair Play (FFP) laws, maintaining the books has been more crucial. Giuseppe Chiné, the prosecutor for the FIGC, had asked for a nine-point fine to be imposed. Within the following 10 days, the federation is expected to release the justification for its decision.
In addition to the points punishment, the FIGC banned 11 former and present Juventus executives from having any positions in Italian football. Fabio Paratici, the current managing director of Tottenham and the former sporting director of Juventus, received the single-longest suspension, totaling 30 months. Vice President Pavel Nedved was given an eight-month suspension, while former President Andrea Agnelli was given a 24-month sentence. Both had been on the club's board of directors, which resigned collectively in November in reaction to the bookkeeping investigation. The FIGC has asked that the prohibitions it has placed be extended to "UEFA and FIFA activities"; if granted, this would prevent the sanctioned parties from engaging in football-related activities outside of Italy.
What was Juventus position?
Juventus has vigorously refuted all accusations. The club stated it will file an appeal against the FIGC's decision with the Sport Guarantee Council of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), Italy's highest sports court, after the decision's justifications have been made public. The club's attorneys claimed that the sanctions imposed by the federation "constitute a clear imbalance of treatment towards Juventus and its managers compared to any other corporation or member." The attorneys issued a statement saying, "We consider this to be a flagrant injustice also for millions of fans, which we trust will be swiftly rectified in the next court."
What happens next?
Despite preparing for what may turn out to be a protracted legal battle, Juventus is also desperately attempting to turn around what has been a generally underwhelming season on the field. The squad has already been eliminated from the Champions League, and now they face a real chance of missing out on a top-four finish in Serie A, which would guarantee them a spot in the most important club tournament, the Champions League. The Old Lady, as Juventus is usually referred as, is currently 12 points behind Milan and Roma, who are tied in fourth place.
The club would suffer significant financial losses if it don’t make the Champions League, and this most recent controversy might potentially lead to a exodus of the best players on the team. In this context, Juventus is also under investigation by the Turin public prosecutor's office for salary payments made during the COVID-19 pandemic and by UEFA for possible violations of the organization's club license and FFP rules. No matter where Juventus finishes in Serie A, the UEFA investigation may ultimately result in a ban from the Champions League or the smaller European club championships, the Europa League and Conference League.