Fabio Paratici steps back from Tottenham role until appeal against ban is heard
Fabio Paratici has stepped back from his role as Tottenham Hotspur’s managing director of football until the appeal against his ban implemented by the Italian Football Federation is heard on April 19.
Tottenham were this week rocked by the news that FIFA decided to extend Paratici’s FIGC ban across the globe, meaning he cannot carry out his Spurs duties, whether administrative or sporting.
The decision for him to step back pending the result of the April appeal was taken by the club and Paratici, with the Italian addressing the Tottenham players on Friday to explain the situation.
Paratici has not yet decided whether he will make a separate appeal to FIFA over the extension of the ban, which was initially just in Italy, across the globe. He must also wait to find out if a criminal trial will be opened at a preliminary hearing on May 10.
All of the sanctions relate to alleged malpractice at Juventus and, in the space of a week, Tottenham have now agreed the departure of head coach Antonio Conte and seen Paratici forced to take leave.
A Tottenham statement said: “This week - 29 March 2023 - the FIFA Disciplinary Committee announced a decision to extend the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) sanctions, relating to Fabio Paratici, worldwide.
“This decision was taken in advance of Fabio Paratici’s appeal hearing against the FIGC sanctions on 19 April 2023, the result of which would then have been considered by additional stakeholders, including the club.
“Given FIFA’s unexpected ruling the sanctions may now have multi-jurisdictional effect, although they are still related to the FIGC appeal. In view of FIFA’s decision, Fabio has agreed with the club that he will take an immediate leave of absence pending the outcome of his appeal.”
Other than Paratici addressing the players, acting Tottenham head coach Cristian Stellini held a clear the air meeting with the squad on Friday, but insisted the club is not in crisis.
Conte’s last act as Spurs head coach was to rip into the players following the 3-3 draw at Southampton, branding them “selfish” and not wanting to play under pressure.
“We met this morning with all the team,” said Stellini. “We spoke all together. The players are in the dressing-room all together. All together, they can speak, but it was important to speak together because everyone needed clarification and I needed to clarify the situation that happened in the last week.
“We were in contact during that week and the players were away with their national team and focused on their matches, but obviously also on what happened here. Now we have met, we spoke and we clarified everything. I felt the players are ready to be together and to fight together like a proper team.”
Stellini admitted the past week or so had been chaotic, but rejected the belief around Tottenham that the club are in crisis and disagreed with the notion that changes are needed over the final 10 games of the season - starting at Everton on Monday night.
“A bit chaotic, absolutely a bit chaotic but we have big shoulders to consider this type of situation,” said Stellini. “It's not a club in crisis, absolutely not because everyone takes the decision for the best and when you take the decision and you follow the process, you are not in crisis. We have to be compact and stick together, and go ahead and continue to move on and play the match.”
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy’s decision to replace Conte with his number two and keep on the Italian’s backroom staff apart from his brother is unconventional and could negate the possibility of the so-called ‘bounce’ a new manager, interim or permanent, can bring.
“Nothing changes, in my opinion,” said Stellini. “Nothing has to change. I know very well the players and we had many opportunities to know each other. To know and to speak many times. I feel that I'm here because of this. We were tight, we were together. We used to stick together in the past and we have to do it again. Only this.”
When it was put to Stellini that supporters had been unhappy with the entertainment level from Tottenham this season, he replied by saying: “I have to disagree on that because if you think that we draw in Southampton and some results in the last month was not good, obviously the fans were not happy and that is normal.
“But we cannot say this about all the season because there are many matches where the fans enjoyed a lot and were there with us, and it’s important that we bring the fans with us.
“In these types of moments, we need to bring the fans with us and they have to be with us because we are the club and they are the club. They are an important part of the club and we expect that the fans support the team.”