Juventus' Champions League dreams hit by 10-point penalty

Juventus were handed the penalty for false accounting

juventus-rep-reuters (File) Juventus players applaud fans after a match | Reuters

Juventus were hit with a fresh 10-point penalty, hampering their chances of qualifying for next year's Champions League.

The latest punishment for false accounting dropped Juventus from second spot in Serie A to seventh.

It left the Bianconeri five points behind AC Milan, who moved into fourth place in Serie A and the final qualifying spot for the Champions League.

Juve's chances of qualifying for Europe's premier club competition would still have been in their own hands, as they play Milan next weekend. But, shortly after the sentence, Massimiliano Allegri's team lost at Empoli 4-1.

There are two rounds remaining.

Juventus said in a statement that they could appeal the penalty, dragging the situation out until after the end of the season.

“What was established by the fifth instance of judgment in this matter, which began more than a year ago, arouses great bitterness in the club and in its millions of supporters who, in the absence of clear rules, find themselves extremely penalized with the application of sanctions that do not seem to take into account the principle of proportionality,” Juventus added.

“While not ignoring the need for urgency, which Juventus has never shied away from during the proceedings, it is emphasized that these are facts that still have to be evaluated by a judge.”

Juventus were handed a 15-point penalty in January and several board members, including former president Andrea Agnelli, were also banned from football activities.

The points deduction was suspended last month on an appeal to the country's highest sports court within the Italian Olympic Committee and referred back to the football federation's appeals court for a new trial.

That took place on Monday. During the three-hour hearing, federation prosecutor Giuseppe Chin requested an 11-point penalty for Juventus. He had asked for nine back in January.

Chin also requested eight-month bans for seven former Juventus directors, including Pavel Nedved, but they were cleared on Monday.

Agnelli and three others had their appeals rejected last month.

The Juventus board resigned en masse in November following an investigation by Turin public prosecutors into alleged false bookkeeping.

A sports trial in the case was then reopened based on information from the Turin prosecutors, leading to the points deduction. Juventus had initially been cleared by the sports court the previous April.

The prosecutors in Turin have also charged Juventus, Agnelli and 11 others with false communications by a company listed publicly on the Milan stock exchange, obstructing watchdog agencies, false billing and market manipulation.

Juventus' legal troubles deepened still further last week after the Italian football federation also charged the club and seven former team directors with alleged fraud for the way they handled player salary cuts during the coronavirus pandemic.

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