Monday, May 29, 2017

Juventus have no reason to fear or lie – Agnelli responds to FIGC

SoccerNews in Serie A 18 Mar 2017

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Juventus president Andrea Agnelli has strongly denied any wrongdoing after confirming both he and fellow club officials have been summoned to attend an Italian Football Federation (FIGC) Disciplinary Commission over alleged irregularities relating to ticket sales.

Several prominent figures at Juve have already been called to testify at a parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission amid claims of a connection between club officials, fanatical ‘ultra’ supporter groups and suspected organised crime bosses regarding the distribution of tickets.

On Saturday, Agnelli attended a news conference to staunchly defend his reputation and that of the Serie A champions.

“Half an hour ago I was notified that I have been deferred to the [FIGC] Disciplinary Commission, along with Francesco Calvo, who at the time was our director, [security manager] Alessandro D’Angelo and [ticketing manager] Stefano Merulla,” he said.

“This club, its dependents and myself have no reason to fear or lie, which is why I am here in front of you today.

“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 just over a decade since Juventus were embroiled in the 2006 Calciopoli scandal, and were stripped of titles and demoted after being found guilty of attempting to influence referees.

Seemingly making reference to that notorious saga, Agnelli said of the latest issue: “It is unacceptable and down to a prejudice towards Juventus and inaccurate reading of the situation that has no logic to it.

“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… and always in the clear light of day. This is normal for a president of a football club.

“Are some ultras members not exactly Saints? I agree, but they had a clean criminal record and no restriction on attending games.

“I thought it my duty to come here and tell you the situation directly, without any mediation.”

The president also insisted the officials in charge at Juventus Stadium, who have helped to steer the club to the verge of an unprecedented sixth successive Scudetto triumph, have no intention of standing down, contrary to rumours that emerged early on Saturday.

“Some of you also theorised a possible change of the leadership at Juventus
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,” he said.

“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.”

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