Juventus have been hit with a 15-point penalty over their transfer dealings, leaving the most successful club in Serie A history facing a struggle to qualify for next season’s European competitions.
The ruling sent shares in Juventus sliding on Monday. The club is controlled by the Agnelli family through their Exor holding but its shares are also listed on the Milan Stock Exchange, increasing the scrutiny on its accounts.
Italian soccer authorities imposed the heavy penalty on Juventus late on Friday night, going further than the nine point deduction which the game’s prosecutor had requested.
That pushed Juve down the Serie A table, and they now sit in ninth place, 27 points behind runaway leaders Napoli with half the season left to play.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
Juventus face scrutiny of how the club accounted for capital gains — “plusvalenza” in Italian — on transfer transactions, notably player exchanges.
In short, clubs can book income immediately from players they offload while the fee for incoming transfers can be spread over the life of a contract. That creates the scope to flatter the accounts in the short term by inflating the value assigned to players leaving a club.
Eight other clubs, including Serie A teams Sampdoria and Empoli, were cleared in Friday’s appeal ruling which superseded an initial decision last May.
CAN JUVENTUS APPEAL?
Juventus have denied wrongdoing and say that their accounts are in line with soccer industry practice.
Once the details of Friday’s ruling are published, they plan to appeal to the country’s Sport Guarantee Board, a kind of supreme sports court that is part of the Italian Olympic Committee.
That body can order the case to be rerun if it decides there are procedural issues but cannot amend the penalty itself.
WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS?
On the pitch, Juventus have practically no chance of catching Napoli. They are also 14 points adrift of AS Roma who occupy the fourth qualifying spot for the Champions League.
Juve earned 78 million euros ($84.82 million) in 2021-22 from Champions League media rights when they were eliminated in the last 16. Absence from the competition would also make it harder to recruit and retain top European players.
DON’T JUVENTUS HAVE OTHER LEGAL ISSUES?
Public prosecutors in Turin have been looking into the club’s accounts and a hearing will be held in late March to decide whether to order 12 people, including former chairman Andrea Agnelli, and the club itself to stand trial.
Besides the transfer issues, public prosecutors allege the club did side deals with its players to agree to compensate them for some of the wages sacrificed at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Soccer prosecutors are expected to decide by the end of the month whether to request a new case against Juventus on player salaries but could seek more time to carry out investigations.
The UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) opened a formal investigation into Juventus for potential breaches of the Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play rules, European soccer’s governing body said in December.