Learn English Through Football Language Podcast: Points Deduction

In this football language post for learners of English we look at the expression ‘points deduction‘ after the big story from Italy’s Serie A saw Juventus being deducted 15 points this week. You can also read the transcript for this post below, while you can also check out our glossary of footballing phrases here and visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at admin@languagecaster.com.

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DF: Hello again everyone and welcome to Languagecaster.com – the football-language podcast for learners and teachers of English. I’m Damian and I’m here in a sunny but very cold London. Happy Lunar New Year to all our listeners around the world and apologies for no podcasts from me for the past couple of weeks. it’s been a little busy here at work. Now, I’m also one half of the Languagecaster team with, of course, the other member Damon based in Japan. And hopefully you got a chance to listen to Damon’s recent podcast on the football phrase ‘a sighter‘ which was really interesting despite coming from the defeat of my favourite team Tottenham in the North London derby. Now, remember that you can access all of our other football-language podcasts – we have hundreds of them stretching back to October 2006 – by coming along to our site here at Languagecaster.com.

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Now, on today’s short podcast I will be looking at some of the language that emerged from a huge story that has come out from Serie A in Italy. One of the most famous Italian sides, Juventus, have been penalised by the Italian authorities over false accounting which means that there are questions to be answered about some of their transfer fees. Here are some of the words that we’ll be looking at:

    1. To deduct (a deduction)
    2. To be docked
    3. To penalise/To be penalised

Points deduction

OK, let’s start with the phrase ‘points deduction‘. Deduction is the noun form of the verb ‘to deduct‘ which means to take something away from someone or something. So, in this example, Juventus have had 15 points taken away from their league total – they have received a 15-point deduction; they have have 15 points deducted from their total. Interestingly, the prosecution asked for a 9-point deduction but the actual punishment was 15 points; a 15-point deduction that leaves Juventus in mid-table almost 25 points from the leaders.

To be docked

Juventus docked 15 points in Serie A by Italian federation for false accounting (Guardian.com January 20 2023)
This was the headline in the Guardian newspaper about this story from Italy. They didn’t use the verb ‘deduct‘ but instead used ‘docked‘ which is another way of saying that the team had points taken away and this word also has the connotation or ‘feeling’ that there is a punishment involved. Juventus were punished by the Italian football authorities – the Federation – and lost 15 points; they were docked 15 points. Unlike deduct and deduction, we do not use the noun form ‘docking’ so we wouldn’t say a 15-point docking, for example.

To be penalised

We all know what a penalty is in football and the verb ‘to penalise‘ is often used to describe when a referee awards a free kick or shows a card to a player for foul play – the player was penalised for a bad tackle, for example. But a club can also be penalised and in this example, Juventus have been penalised or punished for their financial irregularities; they were penalised 15 points or we could say that they received a 15 point-penalty (or a 15-point deduction).

More Examples

  • Example: Juventus docked 15 points in Serie A by Italian federation for false accounting (Guardian.co.uk January 20, 2023)
  • Example: The Hammers were eventually punished financially, but were not docked points. (BBC.co.uk 2019)

Related Vocabulary/Glossary

Now, on our site here at Languagecaster, we have a huge football-language glossary and so here are a couple of more phrases linked to this topic of  ‘points deduction‘ that you can find in this glossary.


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If you have any questions or comments then drop us an email at admin@languagecaster.com and you can also look out for us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We also have a football-language forum where you can ask and answer any questions you have on the language of football. Recently we have had some questions on the word ‘to clear‘ and also the phrase ‘labour on the ball‘. Go along to our forum and have a look at some of the responses.

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DB: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster and that message was from an Irish fan. Don’t forget there’s a transcript for this short podcast and there’s lots of vocabulary support – we explain lots of the meanings of these words in the transcript, which you can access by coming along to our site. OK, that’s it for this short explanation of the term ‘points deduction‘ which of course means that a team loses points from their total because of issues away from the pitch. We also looked at the phrase to be penalised and to be docked points and of course all of these phrases are related to Juventus and their current financial troubles.

Enjoy all the football this week and hopefully your team is not docked any points. We’ll see you again soon. Bye bye!

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DEpisode 44