Serie A giants Juventus have been handed a 10-point deduction in a new ruling by an Italian court investigating the club’s transfer dealings.
The Bianconerri who were in second place behind Serie A champions Napoli with 69 points, drop down to seventh place as a result, five points off a Champions League place and with two games to go.
The decision was announced just before the club’s Monday night game at Empoli, which saw them suffer a 4-1 defeat to their mid-table hosts, a result that further dented their top-four hopes.
An official ruling read: “The Federal Court of Appeals hereby absolves Pavel Nedved, Paolo Garimberti, Assia Grazioli Venier, Caitlin Mary Hughes, Daniela Marilungo, Francesco Roncaglio, and Enrico Vellano from the alleged offences and imposes a 10-point deduction on Juventus in the standings, to be applied for the current season.”
Juventus said in a statement: “Juventus Football Club takes note of what was decided by the FIGC Court of Appeal and reserves the right to read the reasons to evaluate a possible appeal to the Guarantee Board at CONI.
“What was established by the fifth instance of judgment in this matter, which began more than a year ago, arouses great bitterness in the club and in its millions of supporters who, in the absence of clear rules, find themselves extremely penalised with the application of sanctions that seem to take into account the principle of proportionality.
“While not ignoring the need for urgency, which Juventus has never shied away from during the proceedings, it is emphasised that these are facts that still have to be evaluated by a judge’’
In January, Juventus were deducted 15 Serie A points for alleged financial irregularities and false accounting, but it was later lifted.
Juventus were among several Serie A clubs acquitted of suspect transfer activity by an FIGC appeals court trial last year but the investigation into the club was reopened due to new evidence from a separate criminal probe into their finances.
The initial 15-point sanction was tougher than the nine-point deduction prosecutors had requested, and the club hoped no points deduction would be applied once the case had been re-examined.