It’s not getting any better for Tottenham, is it? Just days after their announcement that Antonio Conte has left the club, their director of football, Fabio Paratici, who is tasked with finding his replacement, has been banned from football worldwide – plunging the club into chaos.
Paratici was handed a 30-month ban by the Italian FA in January earlier this year, with the 50-year-old one of numerous current and former Juventus executives punished for false accounting. But, until now, that ban only applied in Italy.
That all changed on Wednesday morning when FIFA – on the request of the Italian FA – confirmed the ban will be extended across the world. They stated: ‘Fifa can confirm that following a request by the Italian FA (FIGC), the chairperson of Fifa disciplinary committee has decided to extend the sanctions imposed by FIGC on several football officials to have worldwide effect.’
Unsurprisingly, the Spurs official, who has been in his post since the summer of 2021, denies any wrongdoing. As do the other executives who received bans. As do Juventus, who were docked 15 points in Serie A as a result, and an appeal has already been launched.
But what exactly was it that got Paratici and his colleagues in trouble? What does it mean for his future at Tottenham? And what happens next? Sportsmail outlines the answers below.
Fabio Paratici has seen his 30-month ban in Italy extended to be worldwide by FIFA
Why has Fabio Paratici been banned?
We start with the obvious question. It’s important to note, before anything else, that of the 11 executives to receive bans, Paratici – who spent 11 years at Juventus – was given the longest, being two-and-a-half years.
Meanwhile, former president Andrea Agnelli and chief executive Maurizio Arrivabene were given bans of two years, while former vice-president and player Pavel Nedved was handed eight months.
The punishments – and the point deduction – were made following the ‘Prisma’ investigation, in which the prosecutor alleged that the club had misrepresented losses, particularly regarding the amount ascribed to player sales.
What this means, in more simple terms, is that Juventus were acused of fixing their balance sheets – which are more important than ever in the Financial Fair Play age – by inflating their transfer fees to achieve capital gains.
To explain capital gains, you can use the swap deal between Juventus and Barcelona involving Arthur Melo and Miralem Pjanic as an example – though the two deals were not “officially” connected.
Tottenham’s director of football looks set to be forced to have a two-and-a-half year break from the game
Miralem Pjanic’s controversial swap deal has come to define what saw them be found guilty of false accounting
Juventus’s board all resigned as one last year before they were handed bans ranging from eight months to two-and-a-half years
There, Barcelona acquired Pjanic for €60m, while Juventus agreed to pay an initial €72m for Arthur. In doing so, Juventus only had to display €12m in outgoings, while seemingly bringing in €60m – thus, both clubs achieving capital gain.
Juventus were not the only club initially accused of wrongdoing during this period, with 10 other clubs also alleged to have fixed their balance sheets by artificial gains from club transfers. But, in April last year, all 11 clubs, and the 59 individuals invovled, were acquitted by Italy’s Federal Court.
The case was then reopened last December, though, with nine clubs, including Juventus, back in the firing line. This was after the entire board of directors at Juventus resigned the month prior – and after the Italian club published annual losses of £220million for the previous season.
Juventus were the only club to be sactioned upon the reopening of the case, with the eight other clubs all acquitted.
The story does not end here, however. An appeal against the sanctions implemented by the Italian FA – which includes the the points deduction and banning of individuals – is set to be heard by the Italian Olympic Committee on April 19.
Meanwhile, Juventus and the 11 former Juventus officials are now undergoing a hearing – postponed until May – to establish whether they should face a civil trial over the allegations of false accounting and market manipulation.
What exactly does this mean for Paratici?
As things stand, he will likely have to step away from his role. As stated, his ban is now in place globally, rather than just in Italy, in what is a major problem for Tottenham.
Yes, Paratici has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, but his future at the club is now in major doubt nonetheless. Perhaps it already was, after being left out entirely in Spurs’ statement announcing Conte’s exit.
The 50-year-old is now unable to carry out his duties, and he won’t be going foward. That is, of course, unless he successfully appeals his ban – which lawyers insist is unlikely.
Yet, even if his appeal is successful, it won’t come overnight, and it seems the Italian will have to step away from the club at least on a temporary basis.
The oddness of Paratici coming out to bat for Tottenham on Tuesday was underlined by him being banned the following day
What have Tottenham said?
Not a lot. In fact, nothing. The club are yet to respond to Wednesday’s bombshell news, though an official statement is expected to come.
What’s worse for Tottenham is that it was only on Tuesday that they posted a lengthy interview with Paritici, in which he insisted Conte’s exit was the right decision, while calling on the fans to keep giving their support until the end of the campaign.
Paratici now ironically also stressed to the players to remain focused on the task at hand, urging them not to be distracted by the club’s latest managerial serach. The interview remains on the club’s website and across their socials.
Tottenham are yet to say anything on the matter – though the Supporters’ Trust said that it further outlined the ‘concerning situation’ at the club
Though the club have remained silent, the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust has called for clarity.
‘This news adds further to the extremely concerning situation at the club,’ a statement read.
‘No manager, no director of football and uncertainty around our star player (Harry Kane) and our end-of-season finish. Fans deserve to hear a clear statement of strategy.’
What happens next?
Now, we wait. It could be that Paratici appeals against his 30-month ban by FIFA, in which case it is likely to prove a long and drawn out case fought in the courts.
As outlined by the club’s own Supporters’ Trust, it further underlines the tumult and uncertainty that surrounds Tottenham.
With the future of Harry Kane still uncertain as he enters the final year of his deal, the club face a difficult finish to the season without a permanent manager and, seemingly, director of football.
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