Juventus Turin has recovered the fifteen points that had been withdrawn as a sanction for the capital gains case on January 20 by the Court of Appeal of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC). In the coming weeks, this sports justice body will have to hold a new hearing to impose another sanction.
The Guarantee College, an independent body that is the third and last degree of Italian sports justice, has based its ruling on the lack of consistency in the motivation for the sanction imposed on ‘Juve’. The black-and-white club, therefore, has 59 points this season, compared to the 44 it had up to now, and goes from seventh to third position in the table, behind Napoli and Lazio, thus entering the Champions positions.
The ‘Vecchia Signora’ received the news in Portugal, shortly before the start of the second leg of the Europa League quarterfinal against Sporting Lisbon (they were 1-0 in the first leg).
Although Juventus have recovered the points, the case is not over. The investigation now returns to the Court of Appeal of the Italian Football Federation, the second degree of Italian sports justice, which, with a different composition, will have to reassess everything that happened. Predictably, according to the local media, he will apply a new penalty of nine points, as the prosecutor’s office had initially requested in the first instance, although he can also impose an even lower punishment.
The Turin club is accused in what is known as the capital gains case – along with other clubs, such as Napoli – of increasing the market value of the players to generate more income by transferring them, thus achieving an unreal capital gain. The tax ruse -used in 22 operations- allowed the team fictitious capital gains in the 20-21 financial year and the 2021 quarterly. In this way, it was able to reduce losses, not recapitalize and, incidentally, reinforce the team with signings such as by Cristiano Ronaldo. In the case of Napoli and other teams, the prosecutors have not yet completed the investigations, so the processes will foreseeably arrive next season.
According to the Court of Appeal that handled the Juventus case, the Turin club’s board of directors would have “shared, or at least endured, the violation of sporting principles.” For this reason, the sanction had taken into account “the special gravity and the repeated and prolonged nature of the proven infraction”, that is, the systematic exchanges of players at prices considered disproportionate to artificially inflate the balance sheets.
Juventus had defined the reasons for the sentence as “illogical and unfounded” and immediately appealed to the Guarantee Association, which could only confirm, annul or request
the reformulation of the sentence, but not modify it in essence. The club, represented by a new management, had requested the annulment of the sentence.
The Guarantee College has also accepted the appeals of Pavel Nedved, Paolo Garimberti and Enrico Vellano, who were part of the ‘Juve’ Board of Directors and who are no longer disqualified for the moment.
However, the appeals of Andrea Agnelli, former president of the club, who for the moment must remain disabled for two years, have been rejected; Fabio Paratici, former manager of the club, with a 30-month disqualification; and Federico Cherubini, former sports director of Juventus, disabled for 16 months.
The hearing of the College of Guarantee began on Wednesday, at the headquarters of the Italian National Olympic Committee, CONI, but just as the members of this body were preparing to deliberate, the case took an unexpected turn. The CONI Sports Attorney General, Ugo Taucer, representative of the prosecution, acknowledged a point of reason to the ‘bianconeri’ and requested a new trial to reformulate the sentence that imposed the 15 points. “I am afraid that with regard to article 4 applied to the club, in the lack of motivation regarding the 15 penalty points, there is a principle of validity of the defenses (argument from Juventus). In the sanction of points to the team, there is a ‘deficiency’ that must be assessed in a new sentence of the Federal Court, ”explained the prosecutor during his intervention.
The ‘Juve’ insisted in the hearing on Wednesday in his idea that the sanction should be revoked. “The contested ruling (by the club itself) is full of errors, which is why we ask for its annulment. Juventus was already acquitted for the capital gains case with a final sentence of May 22 [el caso se reabrió más tarde por petición de la fiscalía]”, said Maurizio Bellacosa, a lawyer for Juventus during the hearing.
The Turin club is facing another ongoing investigation, related to cuts in player wages during the pandemic lockdown, a formula adopted by several European clubs. Justice is investigating whether the Italian team returned the salary money to the squad without including it in the financial statements, which, if confirmed, would have altered the club’s accounts and is punishable for a company, which, as is the case, is listed on the Stock Exchange .
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