Serie A club Juventus has been found guilty of false accounting by Italian Football Federation and has been handed a 15 points deduction penalty in the league as a result.
The points deduction means Juventus, who was sitting in third just a day ago behind leaders Napoli and AC Milan, drop to 10th in the table with 22 points, 25 points behind the leaders and 12 points from the Champions League places.
In addition, former president Andrea Agnelli and former club CEO Maurizio Arrivabene were each banned for two years from football-related activities.
Nine other members of Juve’s staff or former board, which resigned en masse in November following an investigation by Turin public prosecutors into alleged false bookkeeping, have also been penalised.
The longest ban of 2 ½ years was handed out to former Juventus sporting director and current Tottenham managing director Fabio Paratici, while current Juventus sporting director Federico Cherubini was given 16 months.
Former Juventus player turned board member Pavel Nedved was given an eight months ban.
Why Juventus was facing a points deduction?
Juventus is listed on the Milan stock exchange and at the start of the pandemic the club announced that 23 players agreed to reduce their salaries for four months to help the club through the crisis.
But prosecutors claim the players gave up only a month’s salary and the club continued to make secret payments to players including to now Al Nassr’s Cristiano Ronaldo which were not reported by Juventus to stakeholders.
The club was initially cleared by the sports court in April but an appeal was made after the federation collected papers from the Turin prosecutors.
What happens now?
Juventus continue to deny any wrongdoing. The club has announced the decision to appeal to the country’s Sports Guarantee Board once the reasons for the ruling are published.
The Turin club could face further penalties from UEFA which also opened an inquiry into the club’s finances meaning Juventus, who have already been eliminated from this year’s Champions League, may not return for a while.
Gianluca Ferrero was appointed Juventus’ new president on Wednesday, presiding over a smaller five-person board of directors as they calculate their next steps.