Soccer-Italy sports authority scraps 15-point penalty for Juventus, orders new trial


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Juventus appeal 15-point deduction at Italy's highest sports court - Rome, Italy - April 19, 2023 Juventus president Gianluca Ferrero arrives at the court before the hearing REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's top sports body on Thursday cancelled a decision to dock Serie A club Juventus 15 points in a case centred on the club's transfer dealings, ordering soccer authorities to hold a new hearing.

With eight games left to play, the decision will lift Juventus from seventh to third in the Serie A table with 59 points, still 16 behind leaders Napoli but back in the qualifying spots for the lucrative European Champions League.

The ruling by Italy's Sports Guarantee Board came after Juventus, the most successful soccer club in Italy, appealed against a sentence that Italy's soccer court issued in January as it looked at the way the club and a number of other teams dealt with player exchange deals.

The soccer court had also imposed bans from holding office in Italian soccer on 11 past and present Juventus directors, including former Chairman Andrea Agnelli, a prominent member of the family controlling Juventus through their investment company Exor.

Partially accepting the Juventus appeal, the Sports Guarantee Board did not clear the club of wrongdoing but ruled that a soccer court made up of different judges should now hold new proceedings against Juventus and some of the directors and come up with a more appropriate punishment.

The sports authority confirmed the bans for four of the 11 directors, including Agnelli and current Tottenham Hotspur managing director Fabio Paratici.

Juventus Chief Football Officer Francesco Calvo said the club welcomed the decision's effect on the Serie A table as it provided a degree of certainty to Juventus and the other sides battling for a spot in next year's European Champions League.

"As of today, we finally have certainty and we expect that the points that have been given back to us will remain with us forever," Calvo added, speaking before the Italian club's Europa league clash against Sporting Lisbon.

However, Juventus also face potential sporting penalties, including points deductions, in a separate case that Italy's football association (FIGC) is conducting over alleged irregularities in the club's payments to players.

FIGC wrapped up investigations last week and is expected to decide whether the club should face another soccer tribunal.

Inquiries by sport authorities were triggered by investigations by criminal prosecutors in Turin, where the club is based, in a case regarding alleged false accounting.

A criminal court hearing to decide whether to order a trial for Andrea Agnelli, 11 other people and the club itself started last month.

Juventus have denied wrongdoing and said their accounting is in line with industry standards.

(Additional reporting by Emilio Parodi and Federico Maccioni, editing Keith Weir, Ed Osmond and Clare Fallon)

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