Agnelli is one of the great family names of Italian business and Italian soccer. Giovanni Agnelli
founded Italian automaker Fiat in 1899. Gianni Agnelli
, his grandson, was
estimated to be worth $2 billion with control over businesses that employed 360,000 workers. He was known as L'Avvocato ("The Lawyer") and served Juventus as president during its heyday in the 1970s
While based in the northern industrial city of Turin, Juventus, affectionately known as La Vecchia Signora ("The Old Lady"), has a huge following across Italy.
Under Gianni's nephew, Andrea Agnelli
, who was named president in 2010, Juve remains a European powerhouse. It has won six straight Italian league titles and reached the final of the UEFA
Champions League in 2015 and 2017.
Juventus' dominance over Italian soccer contrasts with the problems clubs like Inter Milan and AC Milan have had. Juve's financial clout allowed it to
build its own stadium, 41,500-seat Allianz Stadium, which opened in 2011. Such is Andrea Agnelli
's stature that he was recently appointed president of the European Club Association, the
lobbying group for Europe's biggest clubs.
Juventus' popularity has come at a price, though, and Agnelli has paid the price. He has been banned by the Italian soccer federation for a year
from all soccer activities for his role in the sale of game tickets to ultras linked to criminal organizations.
Juventus is accused of providing individual game tickets and season tickets
to supporters group that have been infiltrated by the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate. Fearful of its new stadium being shut down, Juve is alleged to have offered ultras tickets on credit that
they could turn around and scalp for huge profits in order to keep the ultras from causing trouble at matches.
Stadium violence at Italian soccer matches has been a problem for decades
and is considered one of the reasons for Serie A's declining attendance.
Prosecutor Giuseppe Pecoraro
wanted Agnelli to be banned for 30 months and plans to appeal the reduced
suspension. Agnelli denied he knew the background of 'Ndrangheta member Rocco Dominello
, who was jailed for eight years for scalping.
The relationship between Juventus and its fans
when a Juve fan who had gotten a job as a club liaison officer
committed suicide in 2016 after he got mixed up in the 'Ndrangheta.