Italy’s most famous football club, Juventus, has been handed a hefty 15-point penalty for miscalculation after an appeal hearing at the Italian Football Federation. Juventus has been accused of using capital gains (the positive difference between the purchase and sale value minus depreciation) from a series of player swaps in which little or no money was exchanged between clubs.
The club denied wrongdoing and was initially cleared by the sports court in April last year. But an appeal was made after the federation collected papers from the Turin prosecutors from a separate criminal investigation into Juventus’s finances. With 20 games left to play this season, Juventus, a record 36-time Italian champions, were third in Serie A with 37 points, 10 behind leaders Napoli. The penalty announced on Friday pushes them down into 10th and could rule out the club from playing in Europe next season.
The court also imposed bans from holding office in Italian football on 11 past and present Juventus directors. These included 24 months for Andrea Agnelli, who was replaced by Gianluca Ferrero this week as chairman after formally stepping down in November, and 30 months for former sports director, Fabio Paratici, now managing director of football at England’s Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur. Juventus will know after a preliminary hearing in March if they and the former members of the club’s board will stand criminal trial over alleged false accounting.
They said they would appeal to the National Sports Assurance Commission once the reasons for the verdict are made public. The absence of Europe’s best and wealthiest club from the competition, which lost around €239m last season, will deal another blow to the club’s finances. The court upheld the acquittal of eight other football clubs and their directors, including Serie A’s Sampdoria and Empoli, and prosecutors also wanted the case reopened.