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The reasons for the penalty to Juventus

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The reasons for the penalty to Juventus

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The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) Court of Appeal on Monday published the reasons for the sentence with which on Friday 20 January he had punished Juventus with 15 penalty points in the standings and individual disqualifications of a dozen managers and former managers in the case of so-called false capital gains (the systematic exchanges of players at prices deemed inconsistent with the their value made essentially to arrange the balance sheets artificially).

These reasons were particularly awaited to clarify some points of the sentence, above all: because the Court had ordered 6 penalty points more than the 9 requested by the federal prosecutor, and because the other eight teams involved in the incriminated transfer market operations (Genoa, Sampdoria , Empoli, Parma, Pisa, breaking latest news, Pro Vercelli and Novara) had been acquitted.

The Court considered the violations contained in the new elements that emerged during the ordinary justice investigations to be “serious, repeated and prolonged”, the same ones that had prompted the FIGC prosecutor’s office to request the reopening of a sporting trial that had already become final in May of 2022 with a general acquittal for non-existence of the charges. The explanatory memorandum reads: «In the light of the overall findings produced by the federal prosecutor’s office, it must be confirmed that the board of directors [della Juventus] as a whole he shared, or at least tolerated, the violation of sporting principles. As for the sanction, it must take into account the particular seriousness and the repeated and prolonged nature of the violation which the emerging evidentiary framework is able to demonstrate”.

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As regards the new elements that have emerged, we read: «The new fact that was not previously known is precisely the unveiling of the intentionality underlying the alteration of the transfer operations. The new fact – as effectively underlined by the federal prosecution – is the absence of any method of evaluating exchange operations and the presence of a fraudulent system that the Federal Court had not previously been able to know about, in the light of which the decision must be different from the one revoked. A factual framework demonstrated, moreover, by the numerous declarations deriving from wiretaps, documents and manuscripts from within Juventus which are all essentially confessional in nature”.

Among these relevant documents there is above all what the Court defines as “the disturbing Black Book of Fabio Paratici”, on which the former sporting director of the club and his collaborators had pinned the transactions then deemed suspicious in an “all too explicit” way . According to the Court, this “Black Book” constitutes “an unequivocal objective element, all the more taking into account the circumstance according to which the purpose of the sporting trial is the judgment of the violations of the sporting rules”.

The 36-page document released on Monday also contains the wiretaps that the Court deemed relevant to establish the artificiality of the disputed transactions. One of these is between Marco Re, then manager of Juventus, and a bank employee, during which the manager in question comments on the exchange of players Miralem Pjanic and Arthur Melo organized with Barcelona saying: «But you think someone like Arthur, that you paid 75 million to get the capital gain from Pjanic […] I mean it was obvious right? That it wasn’t one of that figure there ».

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In another interception, Fabio Paratici, then sporting director of Juventus, comments on an intervention by another manager who said he was having difficulty following his instructions «almost letting off steam for being considered the isolated manager», saying: «It’s not that Paratici woke up in the morning and said: today I want to make a nice capital gain! It’s just that at a certain point, you did the math, you called him and told him: you have to do 100, you have to do 150, you have to do 70! And then he made them for you! And he thanks that he did them,
because in this way you have masked the problems for 3 years, eh!».

Others describe the facts as a whole: in a conversation between Juventus managers Stefano Bertola and Federico Cherubini, for example, the corporate situation is compared to Calciopoli, the 2006 scandal for which Juventus were officially relegated to Serie B: “The situation is really complicated. Me in 15 years …, I’ll just make you a comparison. Calciopoli». Another interception dates back to 6 September 2021 between Andrea Agnelli and John Elkann, the majority shareholder, in which the interlocutors make a direct reference to the fact that «the sports management (of Fabio Paratici) had expanded» with the performance « of a whole series of operations” which President Agnelli defined as “excessive recourse to the instrument of capital gains”.

The Court of Appeal then explained that for the other eight companies involved, “in the documentation acquired by the federal prosecutor’s office, unlike what happened for Juventus, there is no specific demonstrative evidence that would allow the accusation to be effectively supported”. In the absence of new elements that directly involved them with respect to those examined in May, therefore, the Court had rejected the requests for sanctions against them, and in the reasons it adds: «The interceptions, the manuscripts – including the “Black Book of Fabio Paratici ” – and the documentation acquired by the Turin prosecutor’s office does not directly involve these companies”. Therefore their responsibility is not excluded, but the non-existence of the accusations is confirmed.

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All these considerations – concludes the Court – lead “to a sanction which must also be proportionate to the inevitable alteration of the sporting result that follows, just as it must be proportionate to the failure to comply with the principles of correct management which the FIGC Statute itself imposes as a clause of a general nature for sports clubs”.

Juventus in the evening he wrote in a press release that “it is a document that is foreseeable in its contents, but vitiated by evident illogicality, motivational deficiencies and groundlessness in terms of law” and announced the appeal to the Sports Guarantee College, the third and last degree of sports justice, which will be able to confirm or cancel the sentence, but not modify it.

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