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Fabio Paratici appeals hearing taking place today, results soon

Don Fabio’s appealing his Italian football sanction.

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Tottenham Hotspur v Eintracht Frankfurt: Group D - UEFA Champions League Photo by Vincent Mignott/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

The ultimate fate of Fabio Paratici will be known soon. Paratici, Tottenham Hotspur’s Managing Director of Football, is currently presenting his appeal to the Italian FA (FIGC) over his involvement in the PRISMA/plusvalenza financial scandals at Juventus which took place when he was working there as Director of Football a few years ago.

The FIGC had found Paratici, along with many of the Juventus leadership at that time, guilty of financial malfeasance and had issued him an 18 month ban from participating in Italian football. A few weeks ago, FIFA had extended that ban to all of global football, making his current position at Tottenham Hotspur unfeasible. After FIFA’s decision, Paratici voluntarily took a leave of absence from his duties at Spurs until after his appeal.

There are multiple moving parts to this situation, but today’s appeal is for the initial charge by the FIGC of what The Athletic calls “false accounting and market manipulation.” This is likely the most important appeal — if Paratici (and the rest of the accused administrators at Juventus) win their appeal, then everything is dropped and Paratici can, presumably, immediately return to work at Tottenham. Should he lose that appeal, there’s a chance he could then move to appeal FIFA’s extension of his sanctions, which is what is keeping him out of work in London.

Paratici is denying any wrongdoing and in today’s hearing is arguing against the sanctions. That said, there’s another criminal trial happening concurrently that also includes Paratici, and the date of that hearing is to be set by May 10. Today’s appeal is being overseen by the Italian Olympic Committee, and results of the appeal could appear anytime from today to five days from now.

Interestingly, Paratici was in the news this morning for a completely different issue. Sport Italia is reporting in a short Italian-language article that “in the past few days” Paratici had met with current Reims manager (and managerial wunderkind) Will Still in Switzerland about his potential interest in the vacant managerial position at Tottenham. Still, 30, is one of the youngest top flight managers in Europe and is gaining an online cult status due to Reims’ performance with him in charge. He also did not have his UEFA Pro license leading to Reims being fined €25m for every match he managed; Still confirmed in mid-March that the club is no longer being charged as he has enrolled in a coaching licensure course to put him on track.

Why is this interesting? Because Paratici is apparently still on “gardening leave” or whatever and isn’t supposed to be working at all, much less meeting with prospective managers. That could potentially put him (and Tottenham) in even more hot water. However, there are two potential possibilities here:

  1. The report is bullshit (it’s the Italian media, untrustworthy at the best of times)
  2. Paratici has met with Still but done so in an “informal context.” If it happened, this is probably how it will be spun by Paratici and Spurs — Oh look, I just happened to run into Will Still at this Swiss coffee shop, how interesting, we’re just having an informal chat and there’s nothing at all official happening here no sir nope nothing at all just a talk between colleagues.

Honestly, I don’t know which is more likely, and it probably doesn’t matter too much; I find it tough to believe Sill would be near the top of Tottenham’s already reported managerial shortlist anyway.

At any rate, we might know more about Paratici’s short to medium-term status here today, or we might not. All we know is that this embarrassing situation continues to plod on, preventing Spurs from making any meaningful progress on what comes next.

UPDATE: The Italian Olympic Commission has gone home, no verdict tonight.