The owner of top Italian football club Juventus proposed a new chairman on Tuesday after the entire board dramatically resigned over a probe into allegations of false accounting.
Exor, which owns 63.8 percent of the Serie A club, said it was proposing Gianluca Ferrero to replace long-time chairman Andrea Agnelli, who led the resignations on Monday night.
The board quit en masse after receiving independent legal advice over an investigation by prosecutors in Turin into allegations of false accounting and irregularities in the transfer and loans of players.
Agnelli, scion of one of Italy’s most powerful and richest families, had been at the helm of Juventus since 2010.
Both his uncle Gianni and father Umberto had been past chairmen of Juventus.
He had taken over after the darkest period in the history of the club – known as ‘The Old Lady’ – due to the Calciopoli scandal in influencing the appointment of referees.
They were stripped of two titles (2005 and 2006) and relegated to the second tier though they won promotion immediately (2006/07 campaign).
However, under the chairmanship of Agnelli, 46, the glory days returned.
The Turin giants won nine straight Serie A titles as well as reaching the 2015 and 2017 Champions League finals.
Agnelli sent an emotional farewell letter to the club’s employees, according to Italian media.
“When the team is not compact... this can be fatal. At that moment you need to be lucid and contain the damage,” the letter read, according to reports.
“We are facing a delicate moment from a corporate point of view and compactness has failed.
“Better for everyone to leave together, giving a new team the chance to turn the match around.”
Exor said Ferrero, a corporate adviser, auditor and board member of a number of companies, has “significant experience and the required technical competencies”.
With a “genuine passion for the bianconero club”, he was “the person most qualified to fulfil this role,” it said.
Club to ‘cooperate’
Juve are being probed over 282 million euros ($319m) of capital gains from a series of player transfers booked in their financial results for 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Prosecutors in Turin are investigating the possibility the club, which is listed on the Italian stock exchange, presented false accounting information to investors and produced invoices for non-existent transactions over that period.
The outgoing board felt it was “in the best social interest to recommend that Juventus equip itself with a new board of directors to address these issues”, the club said.
Managing director Maurizio Arrivabene has been asked to stay on for an interim period while a new board could be brought together.
Shares in the club fell almost five percent on the Milan Stock Exchange on Tuesday morning, and were worth 0.265 euros at around 09:40 am (0840 GMT).
Shareholders are set to meet on January 18 to appoint the new board.
A raft of transfers involving Juve and other clubs are also the subject of a parallel investigation launched by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) in October.
What is discovered by prosecutors will then be passed on to the FIGC, which has powers to sanction clubs with a range of punishments from fines to being kicked out of the league.
The club said Monday it will “continue to cooperate with the supervisory and industry authorities”.