The sad, strange tale of Parma FC’s decline reached its most likely conclusion, as the club was officially declared bankrupt and relegated to Serie D Monday. Although there had been two offers on the table and another in the works from former baseball catching great Mike Piazza, in the end no one was willing to take on the financial challenge of bringing the club back from the brink.
Parma’s problems began about a year ago when UEFA refused to grant the Serie A outfit a license to compete in the Europa League over financial mismanagement issues. In December, club president Tommaso Ghirardi sold Parma for just one euro to a Russian-Cypriot conglomerate. Two months later the club was sold again for the same price, this time to Giampietro Manenti.
Manenti, who is an Italian “businessman,” promised to settle the clubs debts when he took over as owner/president. However in March he was arrested on charges of fraud and money laundering.
Despite the presence of former Italy boss Roberto Donadoni in the manager’s chair, and a squad boasting the likes of Antonio Cassano, the club found itself in free-fall. Players went on strike over unpaid wages. And with the other Serie A teams having already lent Parma $5 million earlier in the season, the club received aid from Lega Serie A, who stepped in to advance a payment due to any club relegated from Serie A.
Already set to finish in the relegation zone, Parma were docked seven points for failure to pay wages and finished rock bottom of Serie A last season on 19 points. Now, for the first time in 45 years, the club, which won the UEFA Cup twice in the 1990s and finished runners-up to Juventus in the league in 1997, finds itself in Serie D. A statement on the club’s website Monday read:
The administrators of Parma FC, Dr. Angelo Anedda and Dr. Alberto Guion, communicated that as of 14:00 today, June 22 2015, no offers have been received for the sporting rights of the club. In the coming hours the administrators will meet with the creditor’s committee and the bankruptcy judge Dr. Pietro Rogato to make the necessary arrangements for the bankruptcy proceedings.
From Serie D, the highest division of Italy’s amateur league pyramid, Parma must now work itself back up the divisions if it hopes to compete in Italy’s top-flight again.