Apart from Napoli's scorching run this season, the biggest story in Serie A this season was Juventus’latest financial scandal. While it pales in comparison to the Old Lady's role in the famous calciopoli scandal of the early 2000s, Juve was recently docked 15 points on the table for, shall we say, accounting irregularities pertaining to a series of transfer swaps completed over the past several years.
The exact details of this latest scandal are a bit dry, so we recently asked our friend Danny Penza at Black, White & Read All Over to give us the distilled version:
Basically, all of the swap deals that had plusvalenza on the books have come back to haunt Juventus. While it’s clearly something that many clubs both in Italy and around Europe have done, Juve has been made the poster child just because of the number of these swap deals they did. It looked like it might be coming out to be not much at all before the entire Juventus board of directors — most notably president Andrea Agnelli — resigned during the early days of the World Cup break. That kicked off (again) the legal happenings and where we find ourselves today, with the appeal of the original clearing of charges from last spring resulting in the 15-point penalty from January.
Juventus has officially appealed that ruling, with the end result being either the 15-point penalty being confirmed or wiped away completely. There are still two other investigations that could result in some sort of penalties — the case involving Juve’s deferred salary payments during the 2019-20 season following lockdown as well as UEFA’s case regarding potential financial violations.
As it turns out, those "two other investigations" Danny referred to may include Roma. You may recall the strange deal the two rivals completed in 2019. Roma sent the talented but unproven Luca Pellegrini to Juventus for €22 million, while the Old Lady sent Spinazzola to Roma for €29.5 million.
While the transfer fees were nearly a wash, with officials investigating Juve's accounting figures, Roma's role in the Spinazzola-Pellegrini swap is reportedly being called into question, according to multiple outlets in Italy, including La Repubblica and the Correire dello Sport.
The smoking gun in this investigation may revolve around a recorded phone call between Juventus officials Federico Cherubini and Stefano Bertola, in which the two allegedly discussed a fictitious transfer that would enable Juventus to balance their books.
According to multiple reports, Roman prosecutor Maria Sabrina Calabretta is currently investigating the Giallorossi's role in this transfer. Although, as the CdS claims, Roma is confident in their accounting, especially since their business operations were put under the microscope during the club's delisting from the stock exchange last July and August.
No matter which path this investigation goes down, it may be many months before a final resolution is passed down, if not an entire year.
We'll continue to monitor this story as it develops.