The city of Parma has a population of only 180,000 and a reputation throughout Italy as one of the most sophisticated cities in the country. Italy’s economic decline over the last decade has hit Parma particularly hard, due to the collapse of local dairy giant Parmalat 12 years ago. Before this, Italian newspaper polls regularly ranked the city as one of the finest in the country in which to live. talian club Parma have announced bankruptcy after the last remaining potential investor pulled out of buying the debt-stricken club only hours before a deadline to complete a deal with the club’s administrators. Parma were officially declared bankrupt earlier this year, although the Lega Serie A advanced a relegation parachute payment to enable them to reach the end of the season. Mike Piazza, a former baseball player, was Parma’s last hope of surviving, but he pulled out on Monday, just hours before the deadline to save the Italian club.
Parma finished bottom of Serie A last season with 19 points, having been docked seven for failing to pay wages. Even without that points’ deduction, they would have been relegated to Serie B. They were relegated to Serie B, but after Parma confirmed that no parties had come forward to buy the club and take on the debts, they will have to start out again from even lower down the footballing pyramid in Serie D. This season, for the second time in as many weeks, Parma announced that they would not play their scheduled game in Serie A. A week earlier, the team had cancelled their home match against Udinese because they didn’t have enough money to pay stewards to open the stadium to the public. This time, the team couldn’t cover travel expenses for the 100-mile trip west to Genoa. It was the first time in the modern history of the Italian league that a club had stopped playing mid-season because they were broke. In the week prior to the announcement, several cars belonging to the club had been repossessed; their medical staff ’s training equipment had been removed so it could be sold at auction; their laundry service had been cancelled.
The players and much of the staff hadn’t been paid since July. Twice in the last three months, the team had been sold for a figure in the single digits: one euro, to be precise. The price was low because the new owners assumed the roughly $100m debt that had been amassed by the man who had run the club for the last seven years. To top it all off, the current owner, Giampietro Manenti, who had bought the team three weeks earlier, had yet to prove to anyone that his bank account contained more than the single euro he had paid for the team, despite his daily assurances that the millions the players and staff were owed would be arriving “domani” (“tomorrow”).