More and more fallout from the Prisma scandal is coming out since the initial ruling that caused a 15 point Juventus point deduction in Serie A and could lead to Tottenham Hotspur managing director of football Fabio Paratici to be suspended from football for 2.5 years. But if this reading of some of the punishments is accurate, Spurs fans are about to get even more righteously angry.
One way that Juventus cooked its books during the pandemic was by publicly declaring that their players would be foregoing their pay temporarily in order to help the club, but privately paying them under the table. Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini basically admitted it and put the entire plan in the team’s group chat, and the players all accepted their illicit pay. This is important, because Juventus is a publicly traded organization, which puts things of this nature under a great deal of additional scrutiny.
The club was the one who cooked the books, but it looks like the players who accepted the money may also get into trouble. Italian journalist Paolo Ziliani is claiming that every Juventus player that accepted the deal could be suspended from football for 30 days. And that includes both Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski.
Here are a few excerpts from the Twitter thread. [translation via Google Translate]
Tutti squalificati. Per almeno un mese. In questo campionato. Forse già a breve. E sì, lo so, non è una notizia di poco conto. I media italiani tremano al pensiero di darla, ma forse è il caso di non fare gli schizzinosi: almeno si evitano svenimenti come per il -15 (1. segue) pic.twitter.com/435Kn6HUS5— Paolo Ziliani (@ZZiliani) January 24, 2023
All disqualified. For at least a month. In this league. Maybe already soon. And yes, I know, it’s not trivial news. The Italian media tremble at the thought of giving it, but perhaps it is appropriate not to be squeamish: at least fainting like for -15 [points] is avoided.
Tutti i tesserati coinvolti sono stati interrogati e hanno ammesso le circostanze. Due giocatori, #DeLigt e #DeSciglio, hanno fornito ai magistrati copia della chat Whatsapp in cui #Chiellini spiegava a tutti l’imbroglio suggerendo di non farne parola con i giornalisti (4. segue)— Paolo Ziliani (@ZZiliani) January 24, 2023
All members involved were questioned and admitted the circumstances. Two players, #DeLigt and #DeSciglio , provided the magistrates with a copy of the Whatsapp chat in which #Chiellini explained the scam to everyone, suggesting not to mention it to journalists.
Poichè si parla di tariffario, queste sanzioni scatteranno in automatico. Ciò significa che fra un mese, o forse prima, tutti i giocatori (più #Sarri) ancora in attività verranno fermati per un mese: compresi #Dybala, #Demiral, #Kulusevski, #Bentancur ecc. (7. segue) pic.twitter.com/sfSQOwCltD— Paolo Ziliani (@ZZiliani) January 24, 2023
Since we are talking about tariffs, these penalties will be triggered automatically. This means that in a month, or maybe sooner, all players (plus #Sarri ) still active will be stopped for a month: including #Dybala , #Demiral , #Kulusevski , #Bentancur etc.
Now, ok. I have basically the same questions about these player suspensions as I do about the 2.5 year one hanging over Paratici’s head — namely, Kulusevski and Bentancur aren’t Juventus players anymore, and this was an Italian sport court ruling. Does this even apply to their current situation in England and members of Tottenham Hotspur?
Well, we don’t know. We do know that the court is appealing to FIFA to make Paratici’s suspension apply across the whole of football, essentially making his job untenable starting as soon as this coming March. If they can do that, it seems possible that they could make these charges against Bentancur and Kulusevski stick.
But that’s stupid. I don’t know why you blame the players for participating in a half-baked scheme to cook the books during COVID and not the club that actually dreamed up the scheme to begin with. The players just want to get paid, they’ll agree to anything, so long as they think the club has their back and will get them the money that they are contractually owed.
I’m sitting here thinking about the possibility that Tottenham could be without two of its best players because their former club (and ok, their current DoF) decided to do some crimes and getting more and more irrationally angry. Hopefully this isn’t accurate. Hopefully this remains a Juventus problem and not a Tottenham problem. Hopefully I’m making a mountain out of a molehill here.
But somehow, I don’t think so. And that sucks.