The stigma of corruption haunts Juventus 17 years after Calciopoli, which could be considered the lowest point in the history of the Turin club, convicted of buying referees and sentenced to relegation to the Second Division. Since then, beyond a good handful of victories and the attempt to restore the legend by Gianni Agnelli’s nephew, the club has not been what it was. Now a court has returned to decree that the Turin team does not play fair in the offices. This time it is the case of capital gains, a tax engineering by which Juventus managed to balance the accounts by inflating the value of mid-profile players that they exchanged with other Italian and European clubs. The best example, perhaps, was the barter he made in 2020 with FC Barcelona: the Bosnian Pjanic for the Brazilian Arthur. Neither of them managed to move the fans of their clubs, but their valuation reached 70 million euros.
Juventus, this time, has had no defense margin. The court of appeal has punished the club with 15 points less in the classification of this course. There will be an appeal, but there will be no reduction in the sentence: the sanction can only be annulled or confirmed. A corrective that will liquidate any aspiration in the championship with a stroke of the pen and will radically move it away from the European positions in the standings. In fact, they will now have 22 points and will be tied with Bologna and Empoli in 11th position. In addition to sanctions to the club, there is also punishment for the managers. The court has ruled two and a half years of disqualification for sports director Fabio Paratici (today at Tottenham); eight months for Pavel Nedved, the club’s manager; and two years for former president Andrea Agnelli, who recently resigned in a kind of controlled detonation of the bomb that was to come.
The case now brings Juventus back to its worst black legend. For years, a criminal group headed by Luciano Moggi, the club’s general manager from 1994 to 2006, controlled all levels of Italian soccer and systematically manipulated the results. Referees, repetition of plays, commentators… In those 12 years, the Old lady Turin won seven league titles. But the glory was quickly tinged with shame, and the relegation to Second Division and the public ridicule was difficult to erase from the collective imagination until Andrea Agnelli, nephew of the great Gianni Agnelli, patron of Fiat and the best Juventus, arrived. His mandate, despite the 19 titles achieved (with nine scudetti consecutive), failed to lift any Champions League, the priority objective and, in part, the engine of the accounting tricks carried out in recent years to reinforce themselves with signings such as Cristiano Ronaldo.
Juventus, who can appeal the sanction, will now expiate his guilt as he has done on previous occasions. However, it is also worth asking about the other clubs that resorted to the same practice in Italy -such as Naples- or in Europe -such as Manchester City and Barcelona-. If there is something about the accounting technique of fictitious capital gains, it is that a collaborator is needed on the other side of the exchange to carry them out. Now it will be necessary to see if the rest of the countries take this financial trickery as seriously as Italy and investigate the clubs that participated with the Vecchia Signora in the economic lie.
The club will now have to begin a reconstruction process that, in all probability, will also involve sports. Investments in players, partially covered by the technique of fictitious capital gains, have not given the expected results. Neither Cristiano Ronaldo, hired to win the long-awaited Champions League for more than 100 million euros, nor Sergio Dusan Vlahovic, signed to Fiorentina last year for 75 million, have provided the expected leap in quality. The return of Massimiliano Allegri to the bench, creator of the last scudetti achieved, it has not borne the fruits that the club imagined. In fact, the team comes from receiving five goals from Napoli -first ranked in Serie A- in the last day. The perspective, from the 11th place in the classification, could not be darker.
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