Italian club and 1997 Serie A runner-ups and 1995 & 1997 UEFA Cup winners, Parma, have been declared bankrupt yesterday by an Italian court.
After their initial financial insolvency in 2004, Parma finished the 2004-05 season in 17th, their lowest ever Serie A performance, before their rise to 10th the following season following the 2006 Match Fixing scandal which saw many high clubs relegated and/or deducted points.
2007 saw the club enter administration, only to be bought out by Tommaso Ghirardi, eventually surviving the relegation that same year by a single point. The following year did eventually see them go down to Serie B where they only spent one season. 2009-2010 saw the club finish 8th before another relegation scrap in 2010-2011 would see them barely survive. The following season saw them 8th again before finishing 6th in the 2013-2014 season.
This is where the club began to struggle. The constant managerial changes costs Parma their Europa League spot in 2014 on the bases they were late to pay some of their income taxes. As a result ghirardi sold this state to Albania’s Rezart Taci, a successful overseas business owner. The businessmen soon brought in few friends as board members before selling the club, now having not paid the players’ wages since the previous summer.
The new owner, Giampietro Manenti had looked to try and bring the club out of debt, but was arrested last week on allocations of being involved in a credit card fraud scheme. The club was given funds to operate and see out the rest of the season after postponing two games because they could not afford either the travel costs or stewardship costs. Players reportedly have been made to drive themselves to the games, wash their own clothes, pay for their own kits, all amongst other things as the club try to settle it’s not $70 million debt. Yesterday, an Italian court ruled them bankrupt.
What will come of Parma? Probably dissolution. The club was lucky enough to survive being wounded up in 2004, but there is not enough money from either the fans as a collective whole, or a potential buy at the moment to pay off the debts and provide the club with enough to operate in Serie B next season. The gesture by the league (Serie A) to let Parma continue until the end of the season as a nice one, and buys the club some amount of time but by all means without a potential buyer the club will need to leverage its assets against the debt, which could see this historic Italian club’s run of 101 years come to an end.