Leeds United midfielder Weston McKennie could be forced to defend himself in court amid “very serious accusations” against Juventus, Corriere dello Sport reports.
Prosecutors in Turin have reportedly filed charges alleging the Serie A giants engaged in false accounting that may have saved the club over €90million [£79million] in salary payments during the Covid-19 era.
Juventus dispute all the allegations deeming the case, which may continue throughout the rest of the year and into 2024, “totally unfounded”.
But, in what Corriere dello Sport calls a “judicial earthquake” that is likely to have “aftershocks” felt for a long time, Juve players during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons could be set to get dragged into the proceedings.
That reportedly includes the likes of Paulo Dybala, Wojciech Szczęsny, Arthur Melo and Whites loanee McKennie, who would face court hearings if they are thought to have been aware of the alleged illegal accounting operation at the club.
At this stage the prospect is considered “remote”, but if it comes to pass the US international would face a month-long ban if found in violation.
The fallout from the situation at the Allianz Stadium looks set to continue to grow with the potential for other clubs to be dragged into the matter in the future as well.
McKennie is largely only at Elland Road as a result of it, as the Old Lady looked to shed members of the squad after the club posted record-breaking £220million losses for last season on top of their financial statements coming under scrutiny [Sky Sports, 29 November].
The seriousness of the situation is already major, with the Italian giants docked 15 points and bans handed to directors [Sky Sports, 23 January], after the entire board had resigned in November over the allegations.
Now-Tottenham managing director Fabio Paratici was also included in the sanctions, and had his ban extended from Italy to worldwide by FIFA on Wednesday, forcing him to step back from his role at the Premier League club [BBC Sport, 29 March].
If he does saty with the club on a permanent basis it appears the – currently remote – prospect of a significant ban will continue to hang over him, although whether that would extend to his employment in England like Paratici is unclear.
At this stage, there appears to be no suggestion that McKennie or any of the other named players relevant to the current investigation were in any way complicit with the situation, but it is an element that has been investigated by prosecutors and further developments remain a possibility.