Stricken Italian Serie A side Parma were officially declared bankrupt on Thursday, a day after their chairman Giampietro Manenti was arrested in a money-laundering probe.
Parma’s players have not been paid all season and it took just 10 minutes for a court to declare the club, rooted to the bottom of the league after finishing sixth last season, bankrupt. They have twice been docked points this season and are more than €100 million (£72m) in debt.
The court in Parma appointed accountants Angelo Anedda and Alberto Guiotto as receivers. “I believe we’ll play on Sunday against Torino,” board member Osvaldo Riccobene told reporters at the end of the hearing.
Parma are last in Serie A with nine points, 16 away from safety with 13 games to play. Italian police said on Wednesday they had arrested Manenti and 21 others on charges including embezzlement and money-laundering. The crisis has had farcical undertones, with Parma’s players having to do their own laundry and drive the team bus while games were postponed because the club could not afford stewards or police at their Tardini stadium.
Players also refused to play after Manenti failed to fulfil a promise to pay them by mid-February. Serie A clubs agreed a deal earlier this month to allow Parma to complete the season with a five million euro fund to be set up with money received from fines paid by the clubs for crowd trouble and other breaches of the regulations.
There was concern that if the club was wound up their remaining matches would be awarded as 3-0 walkovers to their opponents, discrediting the championship. “If the club is passed over to a bankruptcy administrator on March 19, we shall intervene,” Serie A President Maurizio Beretta said earlier this month.
“We’ll decide how exactly to intervene along with the administrator.” Parma have changed hands twice this season, firstly to a Russian-Cypriot conglomerate and then to the Slovenia-based Mapi group. Parma have never won Serie A but lifted two UEFA Cups in 1995 and 1999, the 1993 European Cup Winners’ Cup and three Italian Cups in a successful spell between 1992 and 2002. They finished as Serie A runners-up in 1997 led by current Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti and boasted players such as Gianfranco Zola, Faustino Asprilla and Hernan Crespo.