“Ronaldo received his salary in an envelope”: Juventus was expelled from European competition for financial fraud

The Ital­ian club faced sanc­tions from UEFA that could have been even more severe.

UEFA has sus­pend­ed Juven­tus Turin from par­tic­i­pat­ing in Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tions for the 2023/24 sea­son for vio­lat­ing finan­cial fair play rules. This is report­ed on the union’s web­site.

The sanc­tion will affect all UEFA men’s club com­pe­ti­tions in the new sea­son. This means that the Turin team will not par­tic­i­pate in the Con­fer­ence League, where they qual­i­fied last year. Juven­tus was also fined €20 mil­lion, of which €10 mil­lion was sus­pend­ed.

Why was Juventus punished?

In Novem­ber 2022, it emerged that sev­er­al mem­bers of the Juven­tus man­age­ment were sus­pect­ed of cre­at­ing false finan­cial state­ments amount­ing to €50 mil­lion over the past three sea­sons.

The prob­lems began with the pur­chase of Cris­tiano Ronal­do in 2018. Juven­tus man­age­ment spent more than €140 mil­lion (includ­ing agen­t’s com­mis­sion) on the pur­chase of Ronal­do and €30 mil­lion a year on his salary.

The prob­lem is that foot­ball has finan­cial fair play rules — clubs can­not spend sig­nif­i­cant­ly more than they earn.

The man­age­ment hoped that Ronal­do would recoup the mon­ey spent with games and tro­phies. But the mir­a­cle did not hap­pen: Ronal­do did not attract com­pa­ra­ble earn­ings, and the club did not achieve suc­cess in the Cham­pi­ons League.

In addi­tion, the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic failed, which forced the club to incur loss­es.

Financial fraud and salaries “in an envelope”

There were rumors in the press about the dis­as­trous finan­cial state of Juven­tus. CEO Beppe Marot­ta has left the team. One of the peo­ple who replaced him was Fabio Parati­ci, who sharply cor­rect­ed the sit­u­a­tion in the finan­cial state­ments.

Fabio Paratici

He used the old account­ing scheme with depre­ci­a­tion: the prof­it from the sale was tak­en into account in the bud­get imme­di­ate­ly, and the loss from the pur­chase was divid­ed over the entire term of the con­tract and “spread out” over sev­er­al years.

Juven­tus also paid part of the salaries in envelopes. It is believed that Ronal­do had a “secret salary” that was giv­en to him in the form of cash.

Dur­ing the pan­dem­ic, when there were no match­es, Juven­tus play­ers alleged­ly refused their salaries for four months to help the club with its debts. In fact, they received mon­ey in an enve­lope that went past report­ing.

In Novem­ber last year, the man­age­ment of Juven­tus, hop­ing to save the club, resigned in its entire­ty. Pres­i­dent Andrea Agnel­li, Vice Pres­i­dent Pavel Nedved, CEO Mau­r­izio Arriv­abene and sev­en oth­er board mem­bers left their posi­tions.

Juventus corruption scandal in 2006

Inter­est­ing­ly, Nedved was a Juven­tus leg­end in 2006 when the club was rel­e­gat­ed to Serie B due to a cor­rup­tion scan­dal involv­ing match-fix­ing.

Accord­ing to tran­scripts of over­heard tele­phone con­ver­sa­tions pub­lished in the media, dur­ing the 2004/05 sea­son, Juven­tus gen­er­al direc­tor Luciano Mog­gi nego­ti­at­ed with foot­ball offi­cials to appoint the “right” ref­er­ees for the team’s match­es.

Pavel Nedved

Juven­tus was sent to Serie B, but a year lat­er the team returned to the major leagues. The lead­ers did not leave the club, and Nedved was one of the lead­ers of Juven­tus both on the field and in the lock­er room. In total, Pavel appeared on the field 33 times and scored 11 goals.