Juventus were struck with the incredibly harsh decision of a fifteen point deduction on Friday evening following the capital gains case, which involved the Bianconeri overevaluating some of players they sold. Max Statman spoke with Football Journalist Nima Tavallaey Roodsari about one of the craziest nights in Italian football.
“My first reaction was genuine surprise, because this was the appeal to a case in which Juventus were first cleared of wrongdoing”, Roodsari says. Like many others, he thought the clearing in the first case was the end of the investigation. “Juventus were first found innocent, then the Prisma-investigation broke, the information was shared with the Italian FA and the appeal was launched. We saw the result of that today.”
It doesn’t surprise Roodsari that Juventus are the only team being punished. “They’re the only club involved in the operation ‘Prisma’. Let’s remember that this appeal to the original case was launched after the investigation to Prisma started, where Juventus were investigated by the Turin prosecutor and the Guardia di Finanza (financial police, red.).”
However, Roodsari thinks the situation would be much easier to understand if they released the verdict in it’s entirety, so that everyone could read the legal reasoning behind the conclusions reached. He doesn’t believe in the so called conspiracies about Juventus being targeted. “We have to be concrete and have actual evidence, not just feelings”, Roodsari explains.
Even though the complete verdict has not been published yet, Roodsari makes an educated guess about the legal reasoning behind the verdict: “I think that given that this appeal was launched after the Prisma investigation broke, how the judges reached this conclusion is that they looked at the totality of the evidence, including the Prisma investigation files, and came to the conclusion that there was an intent to deceive the system by inflating values of the players.”
Roodsari says that is ‘very flaky legal reasoning’, because judges are, generally speaking, only allowed to apply the law as it is today.
“It’s going to be very interesting to see which laws or codes they have relied on to come to this conclusion.” This is one of the reasons why Roodsari thinks the decision will be overturned on appeal. “But again, I will have to look at the verdict in its entirety to give a more detailed and concrete analysis.”
All or nothing
As far as Roodsari understands, and like many sources say, upon appeal Juventus will be either deducted fifteen points, or nothing. The number of points reduced, can’t be altered. “I think Juventus will be acquitted upon appeal, meaning they won’t get any punishment for the capital gain case”, he says. Roodsari argues that there are no clear laws nor rules on how to evaluate players, so it becomes ‘kind of legally impossible’ to say whether you inflated someone’s value. “Given that they were acquitted in the first instance, I still find it really difficult to see this being upheld.”
Worse than 2006
Roodsari says that Juventus are in ‘complete disarray’, regardless of what happens in the five legal cases that are still being ran against the club. “Even if Juventus wins all of these, which is highly unlikely, I still think the state of Juventus is worse than after 2006. Back then, you didn’t have club in financial disarray like you do now”, Roodsari notes. “There’s no management, no sporting director, nothing.” In Roodsari’s opinion, this is the worst crisis in Juventus’ history. “Looking from the outside, this is going to take a few years to recover from, best case scenario, because the club’s finances are in absolute tatters.”
As Andrea Agnelli said goodbye to Juventus, he has left Juventus with a broken legacy. “It’s remarkable how Agnelli’s presidency has completely imploded”, Roodsari adds. “It has done so in the most spectacular way possible in the last two years. Never in a million years did I think this could happen.”
Effect on Italian Football
Roodsari says Juventini and Italian football deserve better. “I think that Juventus should’ve never found themselves in this position. What I mean by that, the people in charge should never have even come so close to violating the ethics code or law that they’re being accused of, to bring us to this point. It once again shows that they had to do this because of the dire state that Italian football is in. Desperate times call for desperate measures.” Roodsari calls the current situation of Italian football ‘embarrassing’ and the situation ‘sad for everybody involved’. “A giant scandal of these proportions is the last thing Italian football needed”, Roodsari closes.