Andrea Agnelli was handed a 16-month ban by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) on Monday for his alleged role in Juventus lying about players foregoing wages during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Former Juve chairman Agnelli had decided not to accept a plea bargain which led to the Serie A club escaping with a fine of around €700,000 (S$1.03 million) at the end of May.

However, the FIGC’s disciplinary tribunal found Agnelli, who stepped down as chairman alongside the rest of the board of directors in late 2022, guilty and handed him his second lengthy ban in less than a year.

In January, he was barred from Italian football for two years after Juve were found guilty of using transfers to artificially boost their balance sheet.

The Serie A giants were eventually docked 10 points for that offence following a round of appeals, a punishment which was part of a broader probe into claims of false accounting and transfer trickery that rocked the game in Italy.

Juve and the other defendants’ collective plea bargain related to the club having communicated that players were giving up salary payments during the pandemic in 2020, while privately assuring them that they would miss out only on a portion of what was publicly announced.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side ended up finishing seventh in Serie A after a turbulent season dominated by the scandal, which has also led to investigations of other top-tier clubs.

That placing earned them a spot in next season’s Europa Conference League, but they may yet be banned from European football by the continental governing body.

Juve also face separate criminal proceedings in the affair, with a number of current and former key club figures including Agnelli potentially facing trial.

Italian news agencies reported that a court hearing on Oct 26 will determine whether any possible trial will be held in Turin, where the investigation has been based, or Milan or Rome.

Source: AFP

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