Juventus out of Champions League spots after 10-point deduction

Juventus were hit with a fresh 10-point penalty on Monday by an Italian court -- hampering their chances of qualifying for next year's Champions League -- Italy's Football Association said.

The latest punishment for false accounting in the club's transfer dealings dropped Juventus from second spot in Serie A to seventh.

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It left the Bianconeri five points behind AC Milan, who moved into fourth place in Serie A and the final qualifying spot for the Champions League.

Following the announcement, Juventus were on the wrong end of a 4-1 result against lowly Empoli. There are then two rounds remaining in the Serie A season, including what will be a crucial match against AC Milan as Juventus try to avoid missing the Champions League for the first time in 11 seasons.

On Twitter, Juventus said they "take note" of the decision by the court "and reserve the right" to file a new appeal against it at Italy's top sports body.

"What was established by the fifth instance of judgment in this matter, which began more than a year ago, arouses great bitterness in the club and in its millions of supporters who, in the absence of clear rules, find themselves extremely penalized with the application of sanctions that do not seem to take into account the principle of proportionality," Juventus added.

"While not ignoring the need for urgency, which Juventus has never shied away from during the proceedings, it is emphasized that these are facts that still have to be evaluated by a judge."

Max Allegri's side was handed a 15-point penalty in January while several members of Juventus' former board were also given bans from soccer activities, including former president Andrea Agnelli.

The points deduction was suspended last month on an appeal to the country's highest sports court within the Italian Olympic Committee and referred back to the soccer federation's appeals court for a new trial.

That took place on Monday. During a three-hour hearing, federation prosecutor Giuseppe Chine requested an 11-point penalty for Juventus. He had asked for nine back in January.

Chine also requested eight-month bans for seven former Juventus directors, including Pavel Nedvěd, but they were cleared on Monday.

Agnelli and three others had their appeals rejected last month.

The Juventus board resigned en masse in November following an investigation by Turin public prosecutors into alleged false bookkeeping.

A sports trial in the case was then reopened based on information from the Turin prosecutors, leading to the points deduction. Juventus had initially been cleared by the sports court the previous April.

The prosecutors in Turin have also charged Juventus, Agnelli and 11 others with false communications by a company listed publicly on the Milan stock exchange, obstructing watchdog agencies, false billing and market manipulation.

Juventus' legal troubles deepened still further last week after the Italian soccer federation also charged the club and seven former team directors with alleged fraud for the way they handled player salary cuts during the coronavirus pandemic.