Juventus could reportedly face a fine worth between £17million and £51m for financial irregularities, after it was revealed that the Italian club had failed to record an alleged secret payment to Cristiano Ronaldo during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Although Juventus announced in March 2020 that their players would not be paid for at least four months, signed secret documents between the club and Ronaldo were discovered by investigators, outlining that a payment of £17m had been made to Portuguese star, according to reports in Italy.
The Serie A giants, who were subsequently put under investigation for falsifying accounts by the Turin Public Prosecutor’s Office, are expected to receive serious penalties should authorities discover that a handful of their players were in fact paid during the period.
According to Italian newspapers including La Gazzetta dello Sport and La Repubblica, the unearthed documents pertaining to Ronaldo have played an integral role in the investigation.
Sportsmail revealed on Friday that 16 of the club’s chiefs — including president Andrea Agnelli and vice president Pavel Nedved — were reportedly under investigation as confirmed by the Turin prosecutor.
A statement from Juventus’ lawyers read: ‘It is important to remember that the subject of capital gains for so-called swap transactions is the one from which the whole investigation by the Turin Public Prosecutor’s Office, which ended yesterday, began.
‘This is an issue today that does not warrant news, insofar that two sports justice bodies have already recognised the full accounting regularity of the company, which has acted in full consistency with the practice of the football industry.
‘As for salary reductions, as well as other related costs and changes, these are key corporate government initiatives adopted during the emergency of the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to the suspension of football competitions and the closure of stadiums.
‘The company, during a press release dated March 28 2020, made known, in full transparency to the market and to the shareholders, a reduction in salaries agreed with the players, pointing out that any additions to the remuneration would be negotiated and paid if or when the sports competitions were resumed and the stadiums were reopened.
‘This exceptional time of emergency and uncertainty lasted, as is well known, from the 2019-20 football season up until the entire 2020-21 season, given that only in the spring of 2022 were the stadiums fully reopened to the public.
‘The company therefore accounted for any changes to the salaries and any additions to the remuneration, in line with their progress and in compliance with accounting regulations.
‘As for the general objection of having falsified the financial statements and having made improper communications to the market, Juventus and its representatives believe that they have been operated in compliance with the laws and relevant technical accounting principles.
‘Moreover, during the years of interest, Juventus has distinguished itself for having initiated, in full transparency and in full compliance with the regulations, two different capital increases. These transactions have solidified Juventus as a powerhouse in the landscape of Italian football.
‘In particular, the second capital increase, launched autonomously by the company in June 2021, that occurred a few months before the investigation by the Turin Public Prosecutor’s Office became known, had the aim of strengthening the company’s assets following the strong impact of the pandemic.
‘The amounts of these capital increases exceed the figures claimed within the formal disputes of this investigation, which in any case would have no effect on the company’s debt.’
Sportsmail have also approached Ronaldo for comment.