Juventus appoint Calvo as new chief football officer after 15-point deduction

By Sports Desk January 22, 2023

Juventus have appointed chief of staff Francesco Calvo as their new chief football officer, days after the club were hit with a 15-point deduction.

The Bianconeri were sanctioned earlier this month following investigations into financial violations committed under their previous regime.

Former president Andrea Agnelli and the rest of his board resigned in November, and both he and former director Fabio Paratici were handed hefty bans. 

Now, the club have confirmed Calvo will become the club's new CFO, and that he will report to new chief executive officer Maurizio Scanavino following the latter's appointment earlier this week.

In addition, football director Federico Cherubini, women’s football director Stefano Braghin, and head of football operations Paolo Morganti will all report to Calvo.

Cherubini is the lone figure to remain from the prior set-up at Juventus, in order to help facilitate the continued transition between structures at the club's board level.

Juventus have signalled they will appeal against the sanctions handed down by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

If the punishment is upheld, they will face an uphill battle to secure European qualification this season, potentially hindering their squad retention and recruitment plans at the end of the campaign.

The decision to charge Juventus came following an earlier acquittal, alongside several other Serie A clubs, over financial dealings in regards to inflated player values within exchanges and transfers.

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  • Contract dilemma: outgoing Girlz coach Donaldson says JFF's decision had nothing to do with football; Chung reluctant to engage in public spat Contract dilemma: outgoing Girlz coach Donaldson says JFF's decision had nothing to do with football; Chung reluctant to engage in public spat

    Outgoing senior Reggae Girlz Head coach Lorne Donaldson stopped just short of saying he is the victim of a personal vendetta waged against him by Jamaica Football Federation’s (JFF) General Secretary Dennis Chung, as he refuted claims about how discussions to cut ties, transpired.

    Donaldson in response to a widely circulated release by the JFF, pointed out that the decision not to renew his contract was by no means mutual, as the meeting with Chung and JFF’s Human Resource Manager Suzie George-Gayle, lasted a mere five minutes.

    The JFF in its statement said, “after an extended discussion, both parties came to an agreement that the contract would not be renewed.”

    But Donaldson in an interview with Sportsmax.tv, rubbished the claims.

     “He [Chung] said they are terminating me. There was no discussion. In a five-minute meeting, he just said congrats on everything and the next thing was, ‘we will not renew your contract.’ There was no reason why, or anything, he just said, we will not renew your contract,” he shared.

    Donaldson, along with former Head coach Hue Menzies, was first introduced to the Reggae Girlz programme by women’s football ambassador Cedella Marley in 2015 and led the country to an historic first FIFA Women’s World Cup appearance in France in 2019.

    However, after departing the programme in 2020, following the steps of Menzies, who left earlier in 2019, Donaldson was reappointed in June 2022, to replace Vinimore “Vin” Blaine, who was forced to resign a few months into his tenure, after the Girlz expressed their displeasure with his leadership in a scathing letter.

    Like he did in 2019, Donaldson again led the Reggae Girlz to the World Cup, jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand, where they had an historic run to the round of 16, after drawing with France and Brazil and defeating Panama in the group stage.

    The Reggae Girlz eventually bowed out following a 0-1 loss to Colombia.

    In their most recent fixtures, the Reggae Girlz suffered back-to-back losses to Canada in a failed bid to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, but the progress the team has made under Donaldson’s leadership is without question.

    The tactician doesn’t believe he was judged on that basis.

    “Another thing he said is that if they had done well with the Olympic qualifiers, we (the coaching staff) would have carried on. You don’t want to work in a condition where you are being judged based on one game and not your body of work. So, I guess what happened at the World Cup didn’t matter and it never really had anything to do with football,” Donaldson opined.

    “It’s because I disagreed with the way they want to treat players and coaches, and I defended the Girlz. They have been waiting for the opportunity to do this (get rid of me) because they have been trying to do this from June,” he added.

    The outspoken coach recalled a conversation in which he and Chung didn’t see eye-to-eye and he believes it was from that point that their relationship spiralled.

    “From day one when he said women’s football will never catch on in Jamaica and people will never support women’s football, and I told him he is wrong, I realised the relationship has been topsy-turvy since then,” Donaldson revealed.

    He continued: “He said nobody cares about women’s football in Jamaica and it doesn’t matter how bad the men’s team is, the men will get more support than the women. That was when we were trying to go to Australia for the (Cup of Nations) tournament and from that day I knew we are always going to be fighting for these Girlz because it revealed to me that they really don’t care about the Girlz.

    “He was trying to justify why we shouldn’t have gone to the tournament in Australia, all because they were spending a little money, even though Australia was spending some money as well. And then he came up with these ridiculous flight prices and I said no, it is way less than that. And from February on, he was total against everything that we were doing.”

    Despite sensing Chung’s perceived dislike, Donaldson explained that it was his duty as Head coach to remain resolute in his fight for the players, who sometimes felt disheartened by the show of support, or lack thereof, from the country’s governing football body in particular.

    “We had to stand up for the Girlz and I stick to that. When they are right, we fought for them and when they were wrong, I told them. And then we had to make sure they had the resources that we can have them perform,” Donaldson said.

    “It showed the other day when we didn’t have the proper equipment for them to train. There was no equipment on the first day of camp and stuff like that affected the Girlz because they didn’t feel the love. They kept saying people didn’t care.

    “They just went to a World Cup and see all around the world how everybody (other countries) is speaking glowingly of their team, and they come to Jamaica and can’t even get the proper equipment,” he reasoned.

    That said, Donaldson wished the JFF and Reggae Girlz well on their future endeavours, starting with the upcoming Concacaf Women's Gold Cup qualifying matches against Panama and Guatemala, next month.

    “The JFF, whatever they have planned for the Girlz, I hope they are successful with it, and I wish them all the best from the bottom of my heart. They made a decision, and I am fine with that,” he declared.

    “We have a great group of players that are going to come in, and what we have achieved is basically a scratch on the surface because the sky is the limit with this group of Girlz,” Donaldson ended.

    Meanwhile, Chung when contacted about the allegations, was reluctant to address what transpired during the meeting.

    “I don’t want to comment on those decisions (made during the meeting), I don’t know where those comments are coming from, but from an ethical point of view, I’m just not going to comment on it. We issued a release, and the release speaks for itself,” Chung told Sportsmax.tv.

    However, he admitted to an extent that the February conversation in Montego Bay did happen, but not exactly how it was stated by Donaldson.

    “I never said that people don’t care about women’s football, I don’t know where that is coming from. What I have said in the past is that no matter how well the women do, it seems like people tend to support the men more in terms of attendance at matches and that is something that has been said internationally. So, I was just echoing it because someone said it on a sports programme I was listening to,” Chung explained.

     “It is an unfortunate comment that he made, but I didn’t listen to it, because the fact is that the JFF has spent a lot more money on the women’s programme than the men’s programme and in terms of resourcing it, has given it equal footing, if not more.

    “So, it’s a very unfortunate comment if that was said because when you talk about sponsorship, most of the sponsors have come in for the women’s programme, so that was very unfortunate,” he argued.

    When asked about the possible timeline for Donaldson’s replacement given the significance of the upcoming fixtures, Chung said information should be forthcoming by Monday.

     “We are working to ensure that a team is in place so I’m sure that by Monday we will have that sorted in terms of what we are doing. So, something is being worked on and the JFF will communicate that,” Chung noted.

  • Tony Mowbray wants teams to fear Sunderland after another strong away display Tony Mowbray wants teams to fear Sunderland after another strong away display

    Sunderland manager Tony Mowbray said he wants Sky Bet Championship teams to feel his side’s attacking threat after they beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 at Hillsborough to move up to fourth in the table.

    A Dan Ballard header and two goals from Jack Clarke, the second a penalty,  ensured the Black Cats’ victory in a little more than half an hour.

    Mowbray said: “We needed to start fast, we were mindful of our last away game at Blackburn. Tonight we started fast and gave ourselves a great platform to go on.

    “To get three goals before half-time was great. The only thing, and I said it in the dressing room, I was a little disappointed we didn’t go on and score more.

    “They are a young group of lads and they have to learn. I can’t really complain; to come away and score three goals is good.

    “But you always feel in this stadium that one goal goes in and you never know, so we talked about not giving them chances and it wasn’t until the last few minutes that they had any.

    “If anything, we had to let them feel our threat more in the second half and be more clinical; score some more goals. I want every team to fear us and sit players behind the ball as a result.

    “We were happy to keep the ball but moving forward, I would like other teams in this league to feel our threat – that if they get it wrong we are going to score.

    “Of course, it’s about winning but the bigger picture is I want us to be an even better team and when teams aren’t quite right, we can really damage them.

    “But it’s another three goals away from home for the third time on the bounce, so we just have to keep rolling.”

    Wednesday boss Xisco Munoz apologised to supporters, with his side making the joint-worst start after nine games in Championship history.

    Munoz said: “We started so badly and everyone is disappointed. This is the level we are at and after the second goal the game was done. In the second half we had some better moments but not enough.

    “In the first half an hour we have three shots and they have three shots but they score the goals. We need to change the dynamic and be better in the final third.

    “We changed systems and we changed players. We continued to try to find solutions and we tried to take risks after the second goal but it’s very hard to react the way we want to.

    “We need to try to change a lot of things and my way is to try to find solutions. To get results you need to earn them but it was impossible after the first half.

    “The results are very poor, that’s clear. But if you ask me if we have improved since I arrived, then yes. It’s not easy and we need to manage the pressure.”

    Wednesday are in disarray off the field, with chairman Dejphon Chansiri releasing a statement earlier in the day stating he would be putting no additional money into the club.

    Munoz added: “I can’t speak about the chairman; my job is the football side of things and the focus is on the players.

    “To the fans, I’m so sorry. I’ve been under pressure since the first day. It’s a big challenge but I will continue to fight every day.”

  • Barcelona gifted win over Sevilla by Sergio Ramos own goal Barcelona gifted win over Sevilla by Sergio Ramos own goal

    Former Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos put through his own net to hand Barcelona a 1-0 win against Sevilla.

    Xavi’s side looked set for a second LaLiga draw in succession following their midweek 2-2 clash at Mallorca before Ramos’ own goal with 14 minutes remaining.

    The win takes Barcelona top of the table, one point ahead of Girona and two clear of Real Madrid, who travel to Girona on Saturday.

    Following the draw at Mallorca on Tuesday, Xavi made four changes with Robert Lewandowski returning to the starting line-up. Jules Kounde partnered Andreas Christensen in defence, while 16-year-old Lamine Yamal was also handed a start.

    For Sevilla, Ramos, 37, who returned to his boyhood club last month following 16 years at the Bernabeu and two seasons with Paris St Germain, was among five changes for his side’s trip to Barcelona’s temporary home at the Montjuic Olympic Stadium.

    Sevilla arrived for Friday night’s fixture unbeaten in their last four outings and fresh from a 5-1 midweek demolition job of Almeria, but it was the hosts who enjoyed the best of the opening exchanges with Joao Felix involved.

    First the Portuguese forward, on loan from Atletico Madrid, forced Orjan Nyland into a fine save following a low drive. And then midway through the opening period, Felix rattled the woodwork from six yards out after neat build-up play by Joao Cancelo.

    Substitute Fermin Lopez then wasted a good chance just minutes before the interval when his shot from Yamal’s cross was straight at a thankful Nyland.

    After the break, the chances continued to fall the way of the hosts, with Lewandowski’s close-range shot saved by the legs of Nyland on the hour mark before the impressive Yamal then dragged an effort wide. Moments later, Lewandowski’s shot was headed clear by Loic Bade.

    Barcelona might have been wondering if it was going to be one of those nights but with 75 minutes gone, they were handed a lifeline.

    Yamal’s header back across goal from Ferran Torres’ cross dropped into Ramos’ path and the ex-Real defender, who netted five times in 33 appearances against Barcelona, inadvertently scored past Nyland.

    From there, a shell-shocked Sevilla never looked like getting back in the match as Barcelona saw out the game, including five additional minutes, to claim top spot in LaLiga.

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