Parma returned to Serie A competition earlier today after having its two previous league fixtures called off as a result of the club’s dire financial situation.
Parma, who are over 100 million euros (£70 million) in debt, are facing a bankruptcy hearing on March 19 and were in danger of having to forfeit their season. The club had a point docked earlier this season for failing to pay their players and staff and are currently at the bottom of Serie A.
The Italian club remains in a precarious situation. But after an assembly meeting on Friday, Parma were handed a brief lifeline by Serie A clubs after they agreed to a 5 million euro (£3.6 million) bailout.
Sixteen teams voted in favor loaning the financially strapped team funds, with three abstaining and one team opposing the plan. The sole condition of the vote was for Parma to play at least one game before their bankruptcy hearing on March 19th.
Today, the club returned to Serie A play with a 0-0 draw against Atalanta.
Nobody at Parma has been paid since July, and earlier this week bailiffs seized vehicles and all types of equipment from the Italian club.
Recently, league fixtures against Udinese and Genoa were cancelled due to the club’s inability to pay for stewards, and later because the players refused to play until their financial situation was resolved.
There have also been reports stating Parma couldn’t even afford to provide water for the player’s during training sessions.
Speaking after today’s match, Parma captain Alessandro Lucarelli admitted he and his teammates missed football and thanked fans for their support. The 37-year-old defender went on to share his thoughts on the difficulties the club has experienced this season.
“We missed playing football and couldn’t wait to get out there to run off some of this tension,” Lucarelli said.
“We did well again today. No matter what anyone might say, this team will not give up to the very end. Parma will not falsify the league.
“We just want to be listened to, to help the system improve so that this situation can never happen again. Anyone who love football must understand what happened and work to improve the system.
“The fans gave us great support today. We have become one unit so we can find a positive message of what we’d like football to be.
“We take responsibility for our position in the table. The fans jeered us before, but they’ve now understood that we will not give up despite all the limitations. I guarantee it.”
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