Juventus agrees to fine but won't appeal in plea bargain over salaries probe
ROME (AP) — Juventus will be fined 718,000 euros ($770,000) but will agree not to make any appeals as part of a plea bargain with the Italian soccer federation on Tuesday after the club and seven former team directors were charged with alleged fraud for the way they handled player salary cuts during the coronavirus pandemic.
The only former team director who did not agree to the plea bargain was ex-Juventus president Andrea Agnelli, who will be judged on June 15.
Juventus and the former team directors denied any wrongdoing.
At the start of the pandemic, Juventus said 23 players agreed to reduce their salary for four months to help the club through the crisis. But prosecutors claim the players gave up only one month’s salary.
Juventus, which has already been docked 10 points for false accounting in a separate legal case, had risked a further points deduction.
Juventus said in a statement that “while reiterating the correctness of its actions and the soundness of its defensive arguments” it agreed to the plea bargain “in the best interest of the company itself, of its shareholders and of all stakeholders.”
Juventus added that the agreement allows the club “to achieve a definite result, settling the matter and overcoming the state of tension and instability that would inevitably descend from the continuation of disputes whose outcomes and timing would remain uncertain."
The decision leaves Juventus in seventh place and with a chance of qualifying for Europe entering its final game of the Serie A season on Sunday at Udinese. Juventus is one point behind sixth-place Roma and two points behind fifth-place Atalanta.
However, it remains to be seen if UEFA will ban Juventus from European competition next season for its various legal troubles.
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 was eliminated from the Europa League semifinals by Sevilla this month, leaving the club without any trophies this season.
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