Breaking NewsDownload App

Juventus Freezes Libyan Stake in Effort to Alleviate Embarrassment

Juventus: Embarrassed by association with Libya
Juventus: Embarrassed by association with LibyaRoberto Serra/Getty Images
James M. DorseyCorrespondent INovember 24, 2016

Italian soccer club Juventus SC has frozen Libya’s 7.5 per cent stake in the club following the European Union’s sanctions on Libya’s sovereign wealth fund and its subsidiaries.

Italy’s largest bank, Unicredit SpA, owner of AC Roma, has also frozen the stake of its Libyan shareholder on instructions of the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance.

“The club accepts the move from the Ministry of Economics and Finance,” Juventus said in a statement.

The ministry order to freeze the stake in Juventus of the Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company (Lafico), a subsidiary of Libya’s $70 billion sovereign wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), goes some way to alleviate the club’s embarrassment over its long-standing relationship with Libyan dictator Col. Moammar Gadaffi and his sons.  

Gadaffi and his sons have become international pariahs because of their brutal employment of the Libyan air force and heavy army weaponry to crush mass anti-government protests demanding an end to their 41-year dictatorial rule.

Juventus officials said they legally were prevented from freezing their Libyan stake as long as their shareholder was not included in EU or Italian sanctions. The EU earlier this week expanded its sanctions on Libya to include the LIA and its subsidiaries.

Italy has been slow to impose sanctions because of its extensive oil and commercial ties to Libya. Italy has been a major Libyan investment target with stakes in energy, finance, defense, aerospace and car manufacturing.

Juventus’ embarrassment is compounded by the fact that its association with the Gadaffis contrasts starkly with its insistence that it seeks to reconcile the "professional and business side of football with its ethical and social role."

James M. Dorsey is a senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute and the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices