(Bloomberg) — Juventus Football Club SpA Chairman Andrea Agnelli and the Italian football team’s entire board of directors resigned late Monday amid a probe into alleged wrongdoing related to the company’s financial filings.
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“We are facing a delicate moment as a company and unity has failed,” Agnelli said Monday in a letter to employees, which was viewed by Bloomberg, adding that the exit would provide the team with an opportunity to start over.
The dramatic move comes in the wake of an investigation by Turin-based prosecutors and Italy’s market regulator Consob into some of the club’s recent financial balance sheets regarding alleged false accounting and market manipulation.
Juventus said in a statement it will have to restate its 2022 financial statement after a review of how players were accounted for. The team added it had amended its balance sheets, which will now need to be approved by shareholders on Dec. 27.
Shares in Juventus dropped as much as 10% in trading on Tuesday.
The club has denied any wrongdoing.
Juventus at one point won nine consecutive top Italian league titles under Andrea Agnelli. But his reputation suffered after an attempt to lead the breakaway European Super League, a project that crumbled just days after its launch as teams pulled out under fire from fans, politicians and sports officials.
Spain’s La Liga, the top-level football division that’s campaigned for tighter regulation of European teams, called for immediate sanctions on Juventus after the surprise board overhaul.
La Liga will ask the sport’s European governing body UEFA and Italy’s top Serie A league to immediately impose sanctions in the form of point deductions or financial constraints, it said on Tuesday.
The Agnelli family, which founded automaker Fiat nearly 125 years ago, manages most of its properties through holding company Exor NV. It also controls Ferrari NV, CNH Industrial NV and media publisher The Economist Group Ltd, and is the largest single investor in Stellantis NV. The family has owned Juventus, widely known as Juve, since 1923, and manages it through Exor, led by John Elkann.
Juventus Deputy Chairman Pavel Nedved and Chief Executive Officer Maurizio Arrivabene offered to resign but the board of directors asked Arrivabene to remain, according to the statement.
The company also said it appointed Maurizio Scanavino as general manager and Gianluca Ferrero as chairman.
Scanavino is currently CEO and general manager of GEDI Gruppo Editoriale SpA, the media company owned by the Agnellis. Tax adviser Ferrero holds positions at shipbuilder Fincantieri SpA and Luigi Lavazza SpA
Read more: Juventus Football Club Offices Searched in Player Probe
Shares in the football club have declined almost 20% since January, giving the company a market value of about €692 million ($718 million). In 2021, the team approved a capital increase of €400 million.
Juventus is currently ranked third in Serie A. In September, the Turin-based club reported a €254 million loss, the largest in league history.
The club attributed the poor figures for the 2021-22 season to the effects of the pandemic and its early exit from the European Champions League. Some fans who paid for matches they were unable to attend were compensated, which cut into revenue, the company said.
Juventus has scheduled a shareholders’ meeting for Jan. 18 to appoint a new board of directors.
–With assistance from Joe Easton.
(Updates with Liga in eighth paragraph.)
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