There were days during the summer transfer window when it legitimately looked like Luis Suarez was going to be the answer to Juventus’ search for a new No. 9. It was something that essentially became a three-man race between Suarez, Edin Dzeko and, in a late-summer entry, Alvaro Morata. The first two names in the previous sentence had their logistical challenges — especially Suarez since he was a non-EU signing where Juve had already maxed out on their two non-EU spots in the transfer window.
And now, the lingering effects of the Suarez pursuit — one that ended with the Uruguayan striker going to Atletico Madrid after Morata signed with Juventus — are coming out as part of an investigation involving the Prosecutor’s Office at the Court of Perugia.
Juventus Chief Football Officer Fabio Paratici, namely, has been informed that he and the club are being investigated for their role in trying to rush the Suarez transfer through since the former Barcelona striker needed to pass an Italian passport exam to gain citizenship and be considered an EU player. The Prosecutor’s Office cites “irregularities” in the process, with “more investigations ongoing” regarding the effort “to accelerate the recognition of Luis Suarez’s Italian citizenship,” according to a statement released Friday. Juventus lawyers Luigi Chiappero and Maria Turco are also reportedly being investigated, according to the Corriere della Sera.
The statement by the Prosecutors Office is as follows:
“It emerged that the contents of the test had been communicated in advance to the player, in order to arrive at a predetermined outcome and examination score to meet the requests that had been made by Juventus, with the aim of achieving a positive image return, both personal and for the University.
“Investigations have also allowed us to understand how, in the first days of September 2020, the management of the Turin club was activated, even at the highest institutional levels, to accelerate recognition of Italian citizenship of Suarez. This suggests new hypotheses of crime against persons other than those belonging to the university, still in the process of study.”
(Via Football Italia)
Juventus issued a statement late in the day Friday regarding Paratici’s involvement:
Juventus Football Club confirms that today Fabio Paratici has been notified of information regarding the guarantee and the right of defense. The crime alleged by the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Court of Perugia is exclusively Article 371 bis of the Criminal Code.
The Club strongly reiterates the correctness of Paratici’s work and is confident that the ongoing investigations will help clarify his position within a reasonable time.
Suarez was the third non-EU player Juventus tried to sign over the summer after acquiring midfielders Arthur and Weston McKennie. Because of that, Suarez — who had reportedly agreed to join Juventus — was forced to attempt to get an Italian passport in quick fashion since he was eligible as a result of his wife’s ancestry and it was his only shot of moving to Turin in the summer after he was deemed surplus requirements at Barcelona. However, after it was reportedly discovered that Suarez was tipped off to answers on said September test, the Perugia Prosecutor’s Office decided to open up an initial investigation into the matter.
Early stages of the investigation did not involve Juventus, with the early stages of the investigation centering around the University of Perugia’s role in the controversy. That, as you can clearly see, has changed.
Paratici, according to the Corriere della Sera, has provided inaccurate information to the Prosecutors Office. Chiappero and Turco could also end up being officially involved with Paratici in the investigation, the newspaper reported Friday.
What’s a risk with all of this?
It ranges anywhere from fines to possible relegation from Serie A — the latter, obviously, would be the absolute hammer coming down on Juventus if the FIGC investigation’s determines that the club’s role in this was about as guilty as it could get.