On the evening of November 28, as Portugal faced Uruguay at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, all board members of Italian Serie A giants Juventus suddenly announced their resignations.
“All board members present have declared that they will resign from office,” the club’s official press release said. “Each of the three directors with powers (CEO Andrea Agnelli, Vice-Chairman Pavel Nedved and Chief Executive Officer Maurizio Arrivabene) has deemed it appropriate to waive the powers granted to them.”
It marks the end of a 12-year tenure for legendary president Andrea Agnelli, who became the fourth in his family to hold the highest office at Juventus, the Serie A club with the most league titles (36) in Italian football.
As the Associated Press recently reported, investigations into Juventus’ financial activities have been ongoing for over a year.
Marco Bellinazzo, one of the most important experts at the interface between football and finance in Italy and author of the book Le Nuove Guerre del Calcio (“The New Football Wars”)sheds light on the reasons for this seemingly abrupt decision.
“This is an offshoot of the investigation by the Turin prosecutor’s office, which had questioned Juventus’ accounts for the last three years due to the fictitious plus currency and in particular the salary maneuver,” Bellinazzo told me in an interview this morning.
“The document released by Juventus does not mention the issue of plus valence as it is a claim that is rarely substantiated,” he continued.
Instead, the focus in Juventus’ four-page public statement released last night is mainly on salaries.
Bellinazzo explains that the problem dates back to spring 2020, when Juventus announced savings of almost €90m as players temporarily waived compensation for four months amid the Covid-19 pandemic that has been wreaking havoc on the Italian league Break. That deal was renegotiated when Serie A resumed play in the summer.
“According to the prosecutor’s office, a large part of these salaries – about three monthly installments – were paid in different forms and they should have been recorded differently than at Juventus,” said Bellinazzo.
“In their public statement, Juventus acknowledged the majority of these remarks and, in accordance with instructions from Consob (the authority that oversees Italian financial markets), reviewed their 2020 and 2021 financial statements and will approve the review for 2022 at a meeting in January 2023 will.”
Juventus officials could face trial in the future, which is why they have opted to resign as the best course of action at this point.
“Given the key importance and relevance of the pending legal and technical/accounting matters, the members of the Board of Directors believed that it was in the best interest of the company that Juventus provide itself with a new Board of Directors to deal with these matters tackle,” says the official statement from Juventus.
Following the resignation of all board members, Maurizio Scanavino, CEO of Italian media conglomerate GEDI, has been appointed as the club’s new general manager.
The news, which took the entire Italian football community by surprise, adds to an escalation of tensions around a club that recently suffered their biggest loss in Serie A history.