Juventus docked 10 points for financial irregularitiesby
Serie A giant, Juventus football club, is set to lose its spot in Europe after having points docked in light of suspect transfer dealings.
Italian football club Juventus has had 10 points docked from its league total, after being accused of suspect transfer activity during the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 seasons. The points reduction drops the prestigious club from second place to seventh in the competitive Serie A league and out of the lucrative European qualification spots for next season.
While the previous deduction of 15 points for the Old Lady, as the team is affectionately known, was reversed back in April by Italy’s Olympic Committee (CONI), a tribunal was re-opened due to a separate criminal probe into the club’s finances. This led the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) to “renew its assessment on the penalty to be imposed on Juventus for the so-called ‘capital gains case’.”
Along with the 10-point deduction, bans given to former chairman Andrea Agnelli, ex-chief executive Maurizio Arrivabene and sporting directors Federico Cherubini and Fabio Paratici have also been upheld.
In a statement released after the decision, Juventus said that it “takes note of what was decided by the FIGC Court of Appeal and reserves the right to read the reasons to evaluate a possible appeal to the guarantee board at CONI.”
An own goal
Juventus’s accounting inconsistencies first came to light back in September 2021, after the club released its annual financial report, which included a note saying that an inspection was “currently underway”.
In the months following, news was leaked to the Italian press alleging financial irregularities linked to plusvalenza, the Italian equivalent of capital gains, on its player transfers, with Italian prosecutors taking umbrage with many of the club’s dealings in the transfer market.
Of the 62 transfers investigated for false accounting, 42 involved Juventus, with the infamous Miralem Pjanic and Arthur Melo deals being of particular concern. While other clubs including Sampdoria, Pro Vercelli, Genoa, Parma, Pisa, Empoli, Novara and Pescara, were also investigated, they were later acquitted.
Aside from the accusations of false plusvalenza bookkeeping, Juventus has also been accused of paying more than 20 players, including team icon Cristiano Ronaldo, €90m (£79.5m) in deferred wages off the books during the Covid pandemic.
Commenting on the announcement, University of Liverpool football finance lecturer and qualified accountant Kieran Maguire likened the decision to a “VAR turnover” on Juventus’s financial transactions and saw the profits raked in by the club as “eyebrow raising”.
“The football industry has a record of smart people making dumb decisions as they chase the field trophies regardless of financial consequences and jeopardising the existence of the club as a continuing entity,” Maguire added.
The beautiful game?
There is likely to be some level of apprehension from across the Channel in light of yesterday’s rulings against Juventus, with Manchester City’s own run-in with Financial Fair Play (FFP) allegations still yet to be decided.
The reigning champions of the Premier League and Treble hopefuls are facing 115 charges of breaching financial regulations, with the Premier League accusing the Manchester giant of breaking its FFP rules over a nine-year period between 2009 and 2018.
However, Maguire argued that, while City’s track record should be scrutinised, the length of time it took for the Premier League to take action suggests that the footballing body “might have been asleep on the job for several years”.
Yet, while the club denies any wrongdoing, the allegations have left a significant mark on what has been a glittering season for the “Cityzens”. And, if found guilty, its domination of the league over the past decade will invariably be brought into question and tougher regulations being introduced as a result.
“If Manchester City broke the rules, there needs to be a tariff. If it’s a one-off, that could be seen as scapegoating the club. But if it’s a sign of a much tougher regime, there will be interesting times ahead,” Maguire concluded.