UEFA starts further investigation into Juventus finances
UEFA on Thursday said it was starting its own investigation into the finances of Serie A club Juventus.
Earlier in the day, Italian media reported that Italian prosecutors have requested that ex-chairman Andrea Agnelli and 12 other defendants stand trial on charges of false accounting and other crimes.
UEFA, the government body of European football, then released a statement saying that the investigative chamber of its Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) had opened a formal investigation into whether Juventus had misled them and broken rules.
It is the second time this year UEFA has launched an investigation into Juventus.
Its brief statement Thursday said it would be looking into whether the Turin club had provided misleading information to get the first case resolved with a “settlement agreement” in August.
Agnelli, vice-president Pavel Nedved and the rest of the board of the Serie A club resigned on Monday after investigations by the Italian authorities into accounting irregularities.
UEFA said its own “investigation will focus on the alleged financial violations that were recently made public as a result of the proceedings led by the Italian Companies and Exchange Commission (CONSOB) and the public prosecutor in Turin.”
Juventus were among a group of clubs, including Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan, who in August reached an agreement to pay a fine following an investigation into breaches of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play.
The CFCB had found the clubs failed to comply with the “break-even requirement” in the financial years from 2018 to 2022. Juventus agreed to pay 3.5 million euros.
Announcing the new investigation, UEFA said that if it found that “the club’s financial situation was significantly different from that…at the time the settlement agreement was concluded, or if new and substantial facts arise,” the CFCB “reserves the right to terminate the settlement agreement, take any legal step it may deem appropriate, and impose disciplinary measures.”
Agnelli was one of the architects of the proposed Super League that would have competed with UEFA’s Champions League.
After most declared members dropped out in the face of a public backlash, Juventus was one of three holdouts, along with Barcelona and Real Madrid, that argued the competition was financially necessary.
Earlier, Italian media reported that prosecutors in Turin had formally asked a judge to send the case to trial.
The CONSOB investigation centred on whether Juve, who are listed on the Italian stock exchange, presented false accounting information to investors while producing invoices for non-existent transactions related to the years 2019 to 2021.
– Salary cuts –
At issue are more than 282 million euros ($296 million) of capital gains from transactions related to players booked in Juve’s financial results for those years.
Prosecutors are also investigating how the club accounted for salary reductions taken by Juventus players during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
Juventus, which prosecutors have also named as a defendant, said in a statement Wednesday that the allegations in the case “do not appear to be substantiated”.
It defended the way it had accounted for the salary cuts, equal to four months of pay.
Agnelli became club chairman in 2010 in the aftermath of the calciopoli scandal. Juventus were relegated in 2006 for influencing the appointment of referees.
He is a scion of the powerful family which has run the club for nearly a century. He is also on the boards of car manufacturer Stellantis, which includes Turin-based Fiat, and its holding company Exor, which also owns Juventus. Both those companies are run by Agnelli’s cousin John Elkann.
Prosecutors in Turin did not immediately respond to a request for information from AFP.