Collapse in the field and company under investigation: the increasingly black year of the Agnelli era

The abuse of imaginative capital gains in Italian football does not only concern Juve: it has been quite common in recent years and other clubs are now shaking. But certainly the numbers contested by the Juventus club are enormous: 282 million in three years

I collapse Juve. There are dates to be circled because they are mythical and others to be barred because they are very black. On the day in which Juve, understood as a club, dominates the news for the investigation of the Turin Public Prosecutor’s Office on the capital gains that sees the top management investigated, starting with president Agnelli, the team collapses for the third time at home with Atalanta . A defeat that eliminates the hopes of a championship comeback, pushes Juve away from the Champions League and ends a nightmare week after the four slaps taken by Chelsea. Murphy’s old sarcastic law, most often remembered by losers, does not spare even the most powerful club in Italy: “If something can go wrong, it will”. But this time bad luck has nothing to do with it.

If Pirlo had still been on the Juventus bench, he probably would have already jumped, but Max Allegri’s onerous long-term contract prevents even just the scenario, but does not avoid trials. And if today they will have less space than expected in newspapers and websites it is only because there is an investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office that makes more noise even than the defeats on the field.

By dint of pulling it for three years in an exasperated way, in the end the black and white rope broke. The word “capital gain” in football has ancient roots, it became a term of frequent use at the turn of 2000, at the time of football “which had to come out of pharmacies and financial offices” of Zemanian memory. Unscrupulous entrepreneurs and financiers, in the seven sisters’ championship, exchanged players like stickers, overvaluing them to bring back disastrous balance sheets that were drugged with phony trades. The personal destiny of some entrepreneurs passed through their own prisons, their failed companies, their consumers defrauded. Intertwining and ties of power, with the Palace, politics, banks, one in particular. Dark period of our football, with many champions and as many controversies in much discussed leagues, on the eve of Calciopoli.

About 20 years have passed: the capital gains to settle the balance sheets have remained. There is nothing wrong with them when they are real. The problem, indeed the crime, is revealed when they are fake. When clubs exchange unknown young people for virtual tens of millions or presumed champions in crisis with out-of-market figures. When through these reckless budget tricks you try to bring back the skipped accounts even for a monstrous purchase that is not in line with your possibilities and the consequent amount of salaries increasingly over budget. A heavy picture made even more unsustainable by the economic crisis caused by Covid. The abuse of imaginative capital gains in Italian football does not only concern Juve: it has been quite common in recent years and other clubs are now shaking. But certainly the numbers contested by the Juventus club are enormous: 282 million in three years. Could Juve have entered the championship without these capital gains? A central question to determine what the club would risk if the allegations were proven.

Juventus is not even the only top club that can be defined, euphemistically, a “flooded car”. There are others in Europe that are even worse off. But in Italy we are acting and controlling, the same diligence does not appear abroad. The unsuccessful attempt to create a Super League stems from the needs of clubs in debt and in serious economic crisis, certainly poorly managed. Strict international rules are needed to be enforced. Having turned a blind eye, often both, in the last difficult years of Covid is no longer an acceptable practice, because it drugs the football system and fake tournaments and cups. Having healthy societies cannot be optional. The risk-all operations, the all-ins to participate in the table of the greats, must be stopped. Because, having failed those attempts, one finds oneself with the need for reckless financial operations to make ends meet.

From the Superlega issue to the farewell to the Eca presidency, from the Suarez case to the investigation on capital gains. And the results on the field that are hiding. Many in the Juve world whisper that the era of Andrea Agnelli, architect of a memorable cycle of victories, is now running out. Like the career of Vice President Pavel Nedved, in the last period a source of more than one embarrassment. We will see. The investigation will not be short. How long the road seems to be to bring the team back to the top.

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Collapse in the field and company under investigation: the increasingly black year of the Agnelli era

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