PARMA, Italy — Parma captain Alessandro Lucarelli fears the crisis-hit Serie A club could go out of business as early as next week.
The club, which has been sold twice this season, is on the verge of bankruptcy and has called off its last two Serie A games.
”A meeting has been fixed for March 6, we don’t even know if we’ll get to March 6. And that’s the confirmation that, for those in charge, the Parma problem is not that big a deal,” Lucarelli said in a press conference on Saturday, which was held along with coach Roberto Donadoni to explain the reasons behind their decision to postpone Sunday’s match against Genoa.
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”Now we’ll see what will happen this week. I don’t know what will happen between now and March 6. But there’s not the right conditions for us to best do our own work,” Lucarelli said. ”I hope someone resolves this situation. There are promising players who could leave for nothing if things finish really bad and the vultures are already circling.”
Last weekend’s home match against Udinese was postponed indefinitely because the club couldn’t afford to pay for security and electricity.
Parma signed a 20,000 euro ($22,000) one-match deal with a sponsor early on Friday that would have covered bus travel and hotel costs for the match in Genoa but the players and Donadoni – who, along with the rest of the staff, have not been paid for months – decided to take a stand.
”We asked in vain for help from the governing bodies for the situation here, it’s not a question of money because we would even have put the funds for the trip to Genoa,” Lucarelli said. ”No one called us apart from the players’ and managers’ associations. No one from the federation bothered themselves to come and see what is happening here. That’s why we’re not playing.
”Don’t think that it was easy for us to say that we’re not playing Sunday, because for us playing was the only thing left, there’s nothing else here. If Parma has got to this point it’s because someone let it. We’re not fighting just for us. Parma’s voice at this moment is the voice also of other small clubs because the current rules don’t look after anyone.”
In a show of solidarity, the Italian Players Association announced Thursday that all Serie A squads will go on the field 15 minutes late this weekend.
”We had the support of all the Serie A players and some teams were even prepared not to play in protest,” Lucarelli added.
Other Serie A clubs as well as the various governing bodies are debating whether to step in and help bottom-place Parma finish the season. If the club goes into controlled administration it would then be possible for Parma to take its place in Serie B next term – with relegation already a foregone conclusion.
Should Parma be unable to finish the season, all previous results will stand and future fixtures will automatically end 3-0 to its opponents. If Parma is liquidated, a whole new club would have to begin from the amateur league.
It’s all been a sad turn of events for a club once known as the strongest of Italy’s provincial teams and where players like Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro and Lilian Thuram became famous.
Parma won three European trophies in the 1990s – two UEFA Cups and one Cup Winners’ Cup – and was the Serie A runner-up in 1997.