Serie A giants Juventus have been lumbered with a 15-point deduction for the current league season as Italy's most successful club becomes embroiled in a financial scandal.
Massimiliano Allegri had steered Juventus into the division's top three before the Bianconeri had their punishment dished out on Friday 20 January, sending them tumbling into mid-table, closer to the relegation zone than league-leading Napoli.
It's far from the first controversy in which Juve have found themselves entangled - as recently as 2006, the Old Lady had 30 points deducted en route to Serie B as part of the Calciopoli scandal. However, that debacle was borne out of undue influence over referees whereas the latest turmoil is centred around the club's accounts.
Here's everything you need to know about the ongoing chaos engulfing the 36-time (which would have been 38 without Calciopoli) Serie A champions.
- Juventus hit with huge Serie A points deduction
- Spurs official Fabio Paratici handed lengthy ban as part of Juventus investigation
Why have Juventus been punished?
The press release Juventus put out on Friday following this bombshell revealed that the charges relate to "the evaluation of the effects of certain transfers of players’ rights on financial statements and the accounting of capital gains".
Essentially, Juventus have been accused of potentially inflating player valuations to balance the club's books when conducting transfers. More than 50 transactions between 2019 and 2021 were scrutinised in the initial investigation.
In April 2022, Juventus and ten other clubs were cleared of any wrongdoing by Italy's Federal Court. At the time, the Spanish top flight, LaLiga, filed a complaint with UEFA for Financial Fair Play (FFP) breaches by Juventus.
Juve announced a record-breaking loss of £220m across the 2021/22 season and the club's entire board resigned in November. That decision came after a separate group of Turin-based prosecutors and the Italian market regulator Consob parsed through the club's financial statements. The allegations of false accounting and market manipulation prompted the Federal Prosecutor's Office to launch an appeal against the original ruling in December 2022, ultimately resulting in the punishment they now face.
Juventus are one of nine clubs from the original 11 that were subject to the second wave of investigation.
How have Juventus been punished?
The 15-point deduction is understandably the headline-grabbing figure, sending Juventus tumbling from third to tenth without a single match taking place. Intriguingly, the punishment Juve have received went beyond the recommendation of the prosecution, which was nine points.
However, that is not where the penalties end. 11 former and current Juventus executives and board members have been handed bans from Italian football of varying lengths.
Key figures involved
Andrea Agnelli's uncle, Gianni, Juve's former owner, once said: “Poor footballers are certainly overpaid. The good ones never earn enough.” It seems Andrea's approach to the financial element of the club was also open to interpretation.
The club's chairman between 2010 and his November resignation has been banned from holding office in Italian football for 24 months. At the official unveiling of his Turin-born replacement, Gianluca Ferrero, two days before the points deduction was revealed, Agnelli continued to stress the importance of a European Super League. Agnelli's obsession with this money-making scheme for the continent's elite is perhaps explained by the club's evidently perilous financial position.
Fabio Paratici has been Tottenham's managing director of football since the summer of 2021 but had spent the previous 11 years in various roles at Juventus. The club's former head of technical affairs and sporting director was served with a 30-month ban from Italian football. As with all the exclusions dished out to Juve's board, these bans could be extended across all European - and world - football if requests are met.
Juve's current sports director Federico Cherubini has been slapped with a 16-month ban.
20 years after winning the 2003 Ballon d'Or as a Juventus player, the club's former vice-president Pavel Nedved was handed an eight-month ban. The former chief executive Maurizio Arrivabene has sustained a two-year suspension.
Juventus' initial response
In the statement which detailed the punishment, Juventus revealed: "The Company awaits the publication of the reasons of the decision and announces as of now the bringing of an appeal to the Sport Guarantee Board (Collegio di Garanzia dello Sport) in accordance with the terms of the Sport Justice Code."
The club's lawyers insisted that the sanctions "constitute a clear disparity of treatment against Juventus and its managers compared to any other company or member".
They added: "We point out, as of now, that only Juventus and its managers are attributed the violation of a rule, that the same sports justice had repeatedly recognised that it did not exist.
"We believe that this is also a blatant injustice towards millions of fans, who we trust will soon be remedied in the next degree of judgement."