The Guardian is carrying the story that “Tottenham have concerns” that Fabio Paratici, their managing director of football, will be banned from football worldwide as his previous employer Juventus have had 15 points deducted from their current league total, leaving them languishing in 10th position.
Now concerns over Juventus are nothing new – indeed at the end of last year we can the story No club is too big to fail, as lessons from Italy and Spain are starting to reveal.
But that should not be taken to mean this is a new crisis. As we reported in 2022, “the board has stood down en masse, the prosecutors and regulators are circling. La Liga has demanded fulsome sanctions complaining that Juventus has broken the financial regulations governing European football. The shares have collapsed by over 40 percent in the last year.
Meanwhile, the loss for 2021/2 was getting on for a quarter of a billion pounds, and their main escape route, the Super League, is still trying to make a comeback.
Juventus for whom Wojciech Szczesny now plays, had the latest deduction made after a prolonged investigation into false accounting at the club. Fabio Paratici left Juventus for Tottenham in 2021, and was one of many current and former directors and executives who have been banned following the legal cases in the Italian courts. Quite why Tottenham took on a man who was liable to be banned from world football is not clear.
Meanwhile Juventus’ points loss leaves the club in 10th, 27 points below leaders Napoli and 14 points below the Champions League qualifying fourth place. They are also five points off the Europa Conference League qualification place. Without European football their financial situation gets even worse.
Of course this is not the first brush that Juventus have had with footballing law. In 2018 we reported that Fifa are considering banning loans as they target Chelsea and Juventus. The ban didn’t happen but loan rules were completely re-written.
But even that wasn’t our reporting of Juventus’ problems for in 2012 we ran the headline Juventus coach banned for 10 months. Clubs really should know by now that dealing with Juventus can lead to problems.
However back to Tottenham’s current problem… Bans resulting from cases of forgery and falsification in football can be extended from the country in which they took place to the rest of Europe or the rest of the world.
In this case Fabio Paratici, now at Tottenham, was involved as a director with Juventus at the time of the offences for which they have been found guilty of reporting the sale of players at values above their actual worth, in order to make it look as if Juventus was making a profit – thus reducing their chance of a ban or points reduction for breaking the Italian financial fair play rules. According to the Guardian Juventus continue to deny doing anything amiss. Meanwhile Juventus will appeal and this will of course give time before the ban can be implemented.
Paratici resigned from Juventus last year, along with all the directors, and that might give him some wriggle room to avoid personal blame, although his connection with Tottenham doesn’t do that club’s reputation much good.
In other football financial news it seems that Manchester United, whose owners have indicated that they would be open to selling the club, can’t find anyone interested, because for the last three reported financial years Manchester United have made growing losses. The loss was declared at £115m in the year 2021/22, up on the previous two years. It means that after only one very small loss in seven years up to 2016/17, four of the five years since then have involved losses.
A major part of the loss-making has been due to the fact that the owners have a set of shares which guarantees them a dividend irrespective of the profit or loss made by the club – and they have been taking that dividend. At this rate of increasing losses, there will come a time when the club is having to borrow money in order to pay the dividend, thus increasing the parlousness of the situation.
Meanwhile, the club has now accumulated over £1bn in debt – debt which it is unable to pay off without the input of a billionaire who wants to put money into the club rather than take it out.
Worse there has been talk of major upgrades on the ground, but the club is getting to the point where money is now getting ever more expensive to borrow, because of the existing debts. Some banks are said to have declined to be involved.
Manchester United themselves blame their ever-escalating losses on covid, and of course that might be true in part, but whatever the causes of the losses, they still have to be dealt with one way or another.
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