TURIN :Outgoing Juventus Chairman Andrea Agnelli on Tuesday defended his tenure at the helm of the Serie A club and said the decision to step down had been a hard one to take.
“On top of loving Juventus, in recent years I have given my best to achieving results on and off the pitch,” Agnelli told shareholders gathered in Turin’s Juventus Stadium.
Investors approved results for the fiscal year ended in June which showed a 238 million euro ($255 million) loss.
Juventus, Italy’s most successful team, is under scrutiny by prosecutors and the country’s market watchdog for alleged false accounting, leading its board to resign last month.
Prosecutors have requested Agnelli, 11 other people and the club itself stand trial.
Agnelli, a member of the family which controls Juventus and the team’s chairman for over a decade, said that by stepping down he had wanted to avoid any risk that people might think his personal situation could affect the club’s decisions.
“Juventus comes before everything and everyone,” he said. “I am strongly convinced I have acted properly in recent years, and that accusations raised against us were not founded.”
Italy’s soccer prosecutors last week sought the partial cancellation of a ruling that cleared Juventus and other clubs and their executives following the accounting investigation focused on capital gains.
A hearing on the case is scheduled on Jan. 20, Juventus CEO Maurizio Arrivabene said on Tuesday.
On Monday Exor – led by the scion of the Agnelli family John Elkann and the largest investor in Juventus with around 64 per cent of shares and 78 per cent of voting rights – presented its slate for the club’s new board, which will be appointed at a shareholder meeting on Jan. 18.
It includes accountant Gianluca Ferrero for the role of chairman and Maurizio Scanavino for CEO. Scanavino is the CEO of publisher GEDI, also controlled by Exor, and was recently appointed as Juventus general manager.
The new board, made up of accounting, auditing and legal professionals, will shrink to five members from 10 previously.
($1 = 0.9387 euros)
(Editing by Gavin Jones and Ed Osmond)