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Why Is Fabio Paratici, Tottenham’s Director of Football, Banned for 30 Months?
The severe punishment stems from an alleged accounting scandal dating back to the Italian executive’s time at Juventus.
Though the club currently sits in fourth place in the English Premier League table, it's been a turbulent few weeks for Tottenham Hotspur.
On Sunday, the club announced it had agreed to part ways with manager Antonio Conte amid a growing rift between him and ownership. Then on Wednesday, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) announced that Tottenham’s managing director of football Fabio Paratici will serve a worldwide ban for his alleged actions related to a financial scandal with Italian juggernaut Juventus. This comes after Juventus was hit with a 15-point penalty in January along with bans for the club’s former president Andrea Agnelli and the former CEO Maurizo Arrivabene. Paratici, a former Juventus executive, was also penalized, being hit with a 30-month ban, which was imposed by the FIGC Federal Court of Appeals and initially only applied to the Italian soccer federation; however, that’s now been extended to a global ban by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee.
What did Fabio Paratici do at Juventus to deserve the worldwide ban?
Investigations into whether Juventus executives had schemed for the club, inflating transfer values of players in order to make their accounting ledgers look healthier than they were have been unfolding since 2021 when prosecutors first began investigating their transactions and bookkeeping. Charges related to transfer values were ostensibly dropped last April, but Turin's public prosecutor continued an investigation into player salary payments that had allegedly been deferred during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which roiled the finances of many soccer clubs around Europe, according to Goal.com.
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Juventus initially said that 23 players had agreed to assist the club by taking a four-month salary reduction to help the team through the difficult times faced in the early days of the pandemic. Instead, prosecutors allege that Juventus players only relinquished one month’s pay, receiving off-the-books payments for the balance, allowing both players and the club to avoid taxes on the sums.
According to FOX Sports, Juventus executive personnel – 12 people in all – face a litany of serious charges, including false communications by a company listed on the Milan stock exchange, market manipulation, obstructing watchdog agencies and false billing. After being first scheduled April 19, an appeal hearing for Juventus at the highest sports court within Italian Olympic Committee or CONI is now slated for May 10.
Paratici has denied wrongdoing in the case.
What makes Fabio Paratici’s ban so serious for his Premier League club Tottenham?
The news of Paratici’s ban, which will now apply to his responsibilities in the English Premier League, come at a particularly vulnerable time for Tottenham after manager Antonio Conte departed the club Sunday by “mutual agreement.” Conte, an Italian himself, blasted players and Hotspur ownership alike a week prior in a scathing, post-match rebuke of the club.
Though he was expected to play a critical role in Tottenham’s search for Conte’s successor, the club will now have to hastily ramp up its search without Paratici’s involvement. Such a void in executive leadership at such a perilous time could jeopardize efforts to sign their next manager.
Prior to FIFA enforcing Paratici’s ban on an international level, he remained steadfast in guiding Tottenham through their current period of turbulence.
"We will fight to achieve our targets,” the Italian football executive declared. “We are prepared to fight until the end of the season. Everyone has to be focused on the last part of the season."
What are FIFA and Tottenham saying about Fabio Paratici’s ban?
"FIFA can confirm that following a request by the Italian FA [FIGC], the Chairperson of FIFA's Disciplinary Committee has decided to extend the sanctions imposed by FIGC on several football officials to have worldwide effect," the governing body said.
Per the revelatory statement on the club’s website, no one at Tottenham, including Paratici, had any prior knowledge that additional punitive measures would be coming down the pipe for the embattled Hotspur executive.
“This committee deliberation has been taken with no advance notice to any of the parties involved,” the club said in its Wednesday posting. “We are urgently seeking further clarification from FIFA as to the details of the extension and its variance from the FIGC sanction. We should like to make clear that when Fabio conducted the interview on Club channels yesterday neither he nor the Club had any indication of this decision being made by FIFA, based on the fact the FIGC sanction was taken on 20 January 2023 and remains subject to an Appeal on 19 April 2023.”