Former Juventus president Andrea Agnelli and current sporting director Federico Cherubini have been summoned to give evidence at the trial investigating a falsified Italian language exam to secure a deal for Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez in 2020.
As reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport, Agnelli and Cherubini were among 36 witnesses called upon by the Public Prosecutor’s Office on the opening day of the trial in Perugia.
Suarez accused of cheating
Juventus had sought to sign Uruguay international Suarez from Barcelona in September 2020 and in an effort to avoid exceeding the quota of non-EU players in the squad, the striker applied for citizenship through his wife’s status as an Italian citizen.
As part of the process, applicants must pass an Italian language test, and the former Liverpool star was accused of cheating on the exam held at the University of Perugia in order to expedite the application and secure an Italian passport.
Indeed, it has been suggested that he received the questions in advance and was given preferential treatment by the university.
Suarez‘s move to Juventus ultimately fell through and he remained in Spain with Atletico Madrid, before returning to his native Uruguay to join his first club, Nacional.
The 35-year-old has since moved on to Brazilian club Gremio, but the case continues to rumble on in Italy and Juventus remain heavily involved.
Focus turns to Perugia university staff
Whilst Agnelli and Cherubini are not under investigation themselves, they are expected to provide key witness statements as prosecutors bring the case against former Universita per Stranieri di Perugia principal Giuliana Grego Bolli, former director Simone Olivieri, and professor Stefania Spina.
Indeed, Juventus‘ involvement in the case was dismissed in April 2021, when charges against the club’s former CEO Fabio Paratici and lawyer Luigi Chiappero were dropped.
Charges were brought against Bianconeri lawyer Maria Cesarina Turco, who was accused of falsifying documents, but she has since been acquitted and the three university staff are currently the only defendants.
More legal concerns for Juventus
It has been a turbulent season for Juventus and Agnelli, with the 47-year-old leading a mass resignation of the Turin club’s board of directors in November.
The Bianconeri are being investigated for capital gains fraud, prompting Agnelli, vice-president Pavel Nedved, and several other figures at the club to depart.
Meanwhile, Juventus had recovered from a slow start to the Serie A season and a shock elimination in the group stages of the Champions League to move into second place, but were thrashed 5-1 by leaders Napoli on Friday.