Juventus President Andrea Agnelli confirms that the club have been deferred to the Discipinary Commission, but calls it “unacceptable.”
“Half an hour ago I was notified that I have been deferred to the Disciplinary Commission, along with Francesco Calvo, who at the time was our director, Alessandro D’Angelo and Stefano Merulla.
“This club, its dependents and myself have no reason to fear or lie, which is why I am here in front of you today,” said Agnelli at a Press conference.
“In recent months members of the Juventus staff in who I have the utmost faith testified to the Anti-Mafia Commission. This testimony was analysed meticulously in an invasive fashion, including with wiretaps, and has never changed. They were witnesses and they remain witnesses to the end of the investigation.
“Today the FIGC, instead of limiting itself to contesting eventual irregularities in the sale of tickets, is deferring me and our dependents with the accusation of “collaborating” with organised crime.
“It is unacceptable and down to a prejudice towards Juventus and inaccurate reading of the situation that has no logic to it. I wish to remind you that prevention of public order problems is done in strict collaboration with all the police authorities.
“I will defend myself, I will defend my collaborators and I will defend the good name of Juventus, which has already had mud slung at it during some curious experimental sporting justice rulings in the past.
“I invite you reporters from today to look deeply into the themes of an inquest that has curiously seen the names of those accused of mafia links disappear to be replaced in the headlines by witnesses whose only crime is to work for a very famous club whose name is on everyone’s lips.
“I similarly invite you all to be witnesses and not instruments to make prejudiced conclusions that would in my view be wrong and against everything the justice system stands for.
“I never met with any Mafia bosses. I want to remind everyone that at the time these ultras were and indeed still are free of any criminal record.
“I have met with ultras from various different groups, whether from the Club Doc, Members or other ultras, and always in the clear light of day. This is normal for a President of a football club.
“If some figures have a new position now in the eyes of the justice system, they did not have it at the time. I will explain this to the Sporting Justices and not to you.
“Are some ultras members not exactly Saints? I agree, but they had a clean criminal record and no restriction on attending games.
“Like all clubs, Juventus collaborate with the State – we cannot replace the work of the police. We were only recently cited as an example of a virtuous club when it came to communication with the ultras.
“I thought it my duty to come here and tell you the situation directly, without any mediation.
“Some of you also theorised a possible change of the leadership at Juventus. I am sorry to disappoint you, but this group of directors made up of myself, Vice-President Pavel Nedved, general manager Giuseppe Marotta and sporting director Fabio Paratici, intends to keep Juventus growing for a long time yet.”
Following Agnelli’s press conference, the FIGC released a statement of their own explaining the reasoning behind the deferral:
“In the period from the 2011-12 season to at least all of 2015-16, Agnelli with the express intent of maintaining public order in the sectors of the stadium occupied by the ‘ultras’ fans and avoiding potential fines or sanctions, he did not prevent Juventus directors, players and dependents from having constant and lasting relations with the so-called ‘ultras groups’, which included members of organised crime, authorising the sale of tickets and season tickets superior to the consented sum.
“These tickets were also handed out without the presentation of ID, therefore violating the public safety security norms and thus knowingly favouring the phenomenon of ticket touts.
“He personally took part in some meetings with members of organised crime and the ‘ultras’, allowing them during Juventus-Torino in February 2014 to bring banned fireworks and banners, all aimed at assuaging and earning the benevolence of the ‘ultras.’”
Agnelli’s cousin and Exor CEO John Elkann released a brief statement confirming his faith in Andrea:
“I am sure that Juventus’ full collaboration with the authorities will demonstrate the club’s complete non-involvement regarding the accusations held.
“I would like to reiterate my complete faith in the conduct of my cousin Andrea, who has led the club and his managerial team to the present day and will continue to do so in the future.”