Barça tremble at 'capital gains case' and Juventus' 15-point ban

The Italian side inflated the prices of several players, including Arthur and Pjanic's exchange with Barça

AFP/MARCO BERTORELLO  -   The Juventus team celebrates the Serie A title (Scudetto)

Juventus are once again reliving an Italian league ordeal. Seventeen years ago, they lost the league and the last league titles because of Moggigate, a scandal of bribery of referees by Luciano Moggi, Juventus' general manager, and Antonio Giraudo, Juventus' delegate. 

After that, the 'vecchia signora' has been able to recover its position in the Italian and European football scene with several domestic titles but without Champions Leagues, its great workhorse.

Their interest in this competition has been so important that Juventus managers have done all kinds of fiscal engineering to sign and pay great players. This was the case with Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Real Madrid for Turin for 100 million euros plus a 30 million euro salary.

That was unsustainable. Little by little, the salary manoeuvres to take the shortest route to success, which did not provide them with any sporting benefit because the great European title resisted them, have become known. 

AFP/MARCO BERTORELLO - Cristiano Ronaldo during his time at Juventus

Andrea Agnelli and Pavel Nedved are the big names in this new Juventus story. Two managers put under the scrutiny of the Turin Public Prosecutor's Office because the accounts of the Turin club did not convince them.

Although the Federal National Court initially acquitted the managers because "there is no objective method to establish the value of a footballer", the prosecutor continued to follow the money trail and obtained new evidence against the club.

Fictitious capital gains, false news about players' salaries, false accounting and corporate communications, market manipulation or fraudulent declarations.

Faced with this, the 'Juve house' took action and presented a full resignation of its board of directors to cushion the impact of the sanction which, in the end, was 15 points to be deducted this season. This will leave the historic club without Champions League options and without another important economic flow. 

REUTERS/MASSIMO PINCA - Juventus fans celebrate the Serie A triumph in Turin

The 'capital gains case' is a common manoeuvre in the world of football, but not as exploited as Juventus did at the time. The objective was to exchange players of similar value, but valuing them at much higher values. For this it needed the other club involved in the operation to accept these prices. Necessary collaboration to commit a crime.

The sanction against Juventus should splash Barça, although in Spain the Catalan club and LaLiga have enough on their plate with the issue of levers and salary caps to open this box of thunder.

In the 2019/2020 season Barça sold Arthur to Juventus and bought Pjanic from the Italian side. Balancing the books was the first of the reasons for this bizarre transfer.

Both clubs needed 60 million euros to balance the books and they priced these two players at around 70 million euros, well above their real value. The move was to enter the income in their accounts at the same time as the sale was made, while the purchase is spread over as many years as the player signs. 

AP/JOAN MONFORT - Joan Laporta celebrates his victory after the election at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on 7 March 2021.

Another less well known case was that of Alejandro Marqués, a Barça B player for 8 million euros in exchange for receiving the same amount for the loan with an option to buy Matheus Pereira.

The Italian judiciary was surprised that Juventus declared 155 million euros in capital gains between 2018 and 2021 and decided to open an investigation that has ended in a harsh sanction that could result in the team losing many important players and becoming a mid-table team.