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The corruption in Italy’s first division of soccer

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Turin_Juventus_Stadium_1.jpg
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Turin_Juventus_Stadium_1.jpg

Teams need to get a hold of themselves and follow the financial fair play guidelines set by the Union of European Football Associations, or UEFA for short. Over the past couple of months, Juventus, one of the most prestigious and greatest clubs in soccer’s history, has been under investigation by UEFA. It is based on a breach of the financial fair play rules set to ensure that these bigger teams can only splurge infinite money once they get a super team.

Juventus was fined for breaches starting from 2018 up to 2022. Juventus was accused once before of breaching the rules, but they played it off, saying there are differences in opinions on the value of a player and how much he is worth, but this time UEFA did not let them off easy. 

The union found out that Juventus took part in falsifying their accounting and engaging in market manipulation. Juventus was already guilty of that, but UEFA launched an investigation saying, “The investigation was based on the premise that club directors had not simply been engaged in the sort of practices of plusvalenza that are standard across the European game, but rather that this was deliberately creative accounting.” For reference, pulsvalenza has to do with capital gains and the bookkeeping of the profit made within a transfer between a player and a club.

Furthermore, to prove this, the Italian Financial police raided Juventus’ office looking for evidence, and within a month of this ordeal, the entire club board resigned. In the end, they got a 15-point deduction in the Italian first league, and all the board members got a temporary ban from doing any financial accounts for any clubs. What Juventus did was inexcusable, and there should have been harsher repercussions.

Juventus is a publicly shared team like all other teams in the Italian league, so it’s easier to falsify financial records after getting caught. Plenty of other soccer clubs are breaching the rules, but they don’t get caught like Juventus because the Italian league has stricter laws. I’m not saying Juventus deserve a much worse punishment, but they should’ve received something on top of the 15-point deduction. For example, a one or two-year ban from making any transfers. The transfer ban is standard when financial rules are broken, but the problem is that UEFA doesn’t uphold them, and teams get around it. UEFA has ruled against many teams for economic reasons, but they appeal it and win, so they get away with their scandalous management of a club. 

Another reason Juventus should’ve called a transfer ban is that they are already a big club with big players, so to break the rules to sign more players makes no sense, and this goes for big clubs with financial scandals. Why does a big club need to break the rules when they are already ahead of most other clubs, whether it’s resources or finances? They already have the upper hand, and then on top of that, they need to break the rules to better themselves. At least play by the rules. You are already dominating your opponents, so there’s no need to do what Juventus and other big clubs do.

UEFA has started cracking down more and more on bigger clubs, which I like to see since, in the past, their actions have yet to make an impact and, more importantly, have yet to be taken seriously. Other teams in the British first league, Chelsea and Man City, are getting cracked down on. Man City got charged with over 100 breaches of the financial fair play rule in just four years but then again, who knows if that will go through. These big clubs, especially when privately owned, can just hire the best of the best lawyers to get out of it. At least with Juventus, they are publicly shared, so there’s no hiding foul play. The other team, Chelsea, made an absurd amount of transfers over the last two years, and they found a loophole by paying the transfer fees over the contract. Essentially, they would sign a player for 80 million dollars over eight years, so the player is only worth 10 million dollars yearly rather than the 80 million upfront. To combat this, UEFA is setting a limit on contracts, having the maximum time for a contract to be five years. These attempts show how UEFA is finally taking a step forward, and I’m glad they are going after these bigger clubs for trying to cheat.

Cheating for these big clubs is disgusting. UEFA has begun to step it up, but they need to make more harsh punishments so it doesn’t keep happening. They need to set an example, and that’s what they should’ve done with Juventus. Financial Fair Play was put in place to make more even playing fields, so why do the big teams have to cheat to have the upper hand when they have more resources?

 

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