Juventus have been embroiled in a shocking turn of events that has rocked Serie A, with the Bianconeri’s entire board resigning en masse on Monday evening.
President Andrea Agnelli, vice-president Pavel Nedved, and CEO Maurizio Arrivabene were amongst those who tendered their resignation, with the club facing investigations into allegations of capital gains by inflating the values of players sold.
However, with additional allegations of financial fraud regarding payments of salaries that were recorded as being deferred, fans are understandably concerned that the club could face sporting sanctions in addition to any punishments meted out to individuals involved.
So, are Juventus likely to incur a points penalty or even a relegation to Serie B, as they did in the aftermath of Calciopoli in 2006? According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the possible sanctions range from the different offences that Juventus are accused of, and anything from a fine to a demotion is a possibility.
Capital gains – what punishment could Juventus face?
With the board resigning amidst the capital gains scandal, it is expected that any punishments would be directed at the individuals involved, and this could range from fines to the directors and to the club, to bans from taking on positions within football for a specific period of time.
Following Calciopoli, Juventus sporting director Luciano Moggi was slapped with a lifetime ban, and whilst the punishments to Agnelli, Nedved, and co. may be less extreme, they may not be able to return to a position at the club in the near future should they be found guilty.
Salary payments – the centre of the investigation
This takes us onto the investigation into whether Juventus were paying players a full salary whilst recording them as being deferred or reduced, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whilst the capital gains investigation is ongoing, it is reported that the bigger issue for the Bianconeri now relates to the continuation of payment of salaries to 23 players in full from March until June 2020.
Whilst Juventus had publicly declared that the players had agreed to take wage cuts to help the club during the initial transition into lockdowns and the loss of revenue associated with it, it is alleged that the Turin club had secretly paid the remaining amounts in a manner which would avoid taxes to the club and to the players.
It is also alleged that Juventus covered the salaries in full for three of the four months in which the players supposedly took cuts, falsifying their books to produce a balanced total.
If the documents relating to the top-up of wages are found to have breached the FIGC’s ‘salary reduction’ agreements with all clubs in 2020 and 2021, a new case could be opened and the Bianconeri could see their position in Serie A under threat.
What punishment could Juventus face?
The FIGC are currently maintaining a prudent stance and refusing to comment, but the decision will rest with their COVISOC commission.
As per Article no.31 of the Sporting Justice Code, the “falsification of accounting or administrative documents or any other illegal or evasive activity” can lead to a points deduction or relegation.
In order for them to be relegated, it would require an investigation to prove that Juventus were only able to register their squad for the season due to the financial amendments, but the Bianconeri could still face points deductions.
However, La Gazzetta dello Sport report that the falsification of accounts could be enough to see Juventus relegated, should the allegations be proven.