Juve, new sanctions are coming for the salary maneuver

Closed the investigation. For the federal prosecutor Chiné, the club and the former managers are responsible for the agreements with the players in the two years of Covid. And the agents are also at risk

Elisabetta Esposito-Valerio Piccioni

31 March
– Milan

Juve and its former potential managers blamed. Attorneys of the players involved reported to the Federal Sports Agents Commission. Save the players. The federal prosecutor Giuseppe Chiné is closing the investigation into Juve’s “salary maneuvers” and in the next few days he will have to inform the potential accused of the closure of the investigation. The four months of investigative work based on the papers sent several times by the Turin public prosecutor’s office have run out. And the conclusions of the prosecutor’s office would go in a clear direction: the responsibility of the club and of those who ran it.

The Sports Justice Code of the Football Federation provides that at the end of the investigation, the potential accused are warned (a sort of “pre-referral”) and can ask to be heard and present a brief. After which the prosecution will make the final decision: either defer, and then refer to (sporting) trial, or file or choose with respect to any plea bargain requests. The most probable hypothesis, given the possibility of asking for shorter times – “provided the accused is assured the effective exercise of the right of defense” – is that of going to the Federal Court between the end of April and the beginning of May . To try to close the path of sports justice by the end of the championship for the two federal degrees.

No reduction

But what is this trend of salary maneuvers? These are the two agreements between Juventus and the players during the first two Covid seasons (2019-2020 and 2020-2021). According to the Turin prosecutors, these agreements did not represent a reduction in salaries, rather “a mere deferral” with “the athletes who had a valid expectation that the company would honor the commitment relating to the deferred payment of the four months”. Magistrates are interested in all this to demonstrate the hypotheses of crimes of a “balance sheet” nature for which the indictment of the 12 former Juventus managers and of the club itself has been requested.

For sports justice, the interest is also another: the possibility of agreements outside the permitted channels and the filing of documents in the League and in the Football Federation, again within the same article of the FIGC Code: the now infamous 31. In short, the famous side letters, found in the various searches of the Prisma investigation, are therefore the heart of the accusation, so much so that before the famous request for revocation on the subject of capital gains, this was considered the most slippery territory for Juve. The chapter that also includes the controversial queues (still not exhausted) of the contractual relationships with Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala.

At this point, Juve would risk a maxi fine and/or penalty of “one or more points”. Its former executives could be sanctioned with new inhibitions. In theory, and upon a first reading of the Code, these documents could have also led to establishing the liability of the players, with the risk of “at least one month” of disqualification. However, in the exchange of emails between the Juve managers of the time and the players’ agents, the federal prosecutor’s office evidently deemed the level of awareness of the behavior of the players and therefore their direct and ascertained responsibility for the regulatory violation to be insufficient. Contrary to the position of the agents involved in the confused negotiation on “waivers”.

Instead, we are in an interlocutory phase on the issue concerning the involvement of the other clubs. Three criminal files have been opened on the subject of capital gains. Those of the Cagliari and Bologna prosecutors were born precisely from the transmission of the documents from Turin and relate to the sale of Alberto Cerri to the Sardinian club and Riccardo Orsolini to the Emilian one. In Naples, on the other hand, we started earlier, but the public prosecutor’s office asked for another six months for the investigation. On these various fronts, the federal prosecutor’s office will await the first results of the criminal investigations on the basis of what is permitted by the Code which provides that “deeds and documents originating from the public prosecutor’s office and other state judicial authorities may always be used at all times” .