Where has it gone wrong for Parma?

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Parma Football Club. Three times Coppa Italia winners. Two times UEFA Cup winners. One time European Super Cup winners. One time Supercoppa Italiana winners. One time European Cup Winners' Cup winners. Facing extinction.

Italian football is struggling. The league isn't as prestigious as others across Europe and there simply isn't money going into the game, but for one club and one historic club, that is the least of their concerns.

Parma Failures

Parma are currently sitting bottom of the Serie A table and have been forced to postpone their last two games due to crippling debts and inability to complete the matches.

The first one was forfeited after the club couldn't afford to pay stewards for the game, and the second one has recently been postponed after the players refused to play due to unpaid wages.

Glory Days

This isn't any club struggling, this is Parma. If you are old enough, you may just be able to remember their glory days between 1992 and 2002 and for you, this saga may be upsetting to see.

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Once upon a time, this football club boasted the talents of Gianluigi Buffon, Lillian Thuram, Fabio Cannavaro, Juan Sebastian Veron and Hernan Crespo, but now, they are sitting in massive debt. Debts that are slowly turning them extinct.

What Happened?!

So what actually happened at Parma and where did it all go wrong?

Well last season the club finished sixth in the Serie A, meaning they had qualified for the Europa League competition.

However, due to unpaid bills UEFA prevented the club from competing.

Owners have come and gone at the club, with two presidential changes taking place in the last two months and it's led to the Parma mayor saying the club now have no credibility.


Italian football journalist Mina Rzouki has recently spoken out about the club and its financial debts and he has admitted that they are months away from extinction.

"Right now everyone is pointing the finger at everyone," Rzouki told BBC's World Service. "But if we look at the root of the problem, how it started and how it developed, one cannot overlook former owner Tommaso Ghirardi.

"Ghirardi took over in 2007 when there was a gross debt of 16.1m euros (£11.8m). Seven years on, Parma have a gross debt figure of 197.4m euros. Take away outstanding credit, it has a net debt of 97m euros (£71.2m).

"Between the summer of 2013 and the summer of 2014, Parma took part in over 450 player transactions - purchases, loans, co-ownerships and sales. How can he not be the man to blame?"

As it stands, there is no way out for Parma. They cannot afford to play games, they cannot afford to pay their players and now they can't even afford hot water or laundry services.


However, according to reports, there are potentially two ways they can be helped.

The club could be offered a loan of around £3.7m. I know that doesn't seem a lot considering they are in nearly £150m worth of debt, but this would cover them to May, meaning they could finish the season and then get relegated to Serie B rather than drop to amateur leagues due to failing to complete the season.

Another potential option is help from the local authority. Parma's mayor has said: "Pizzarotti is looking for local investors to buy the club in the summer. He has lost patience with Giampietro Manenti and has asked local businessmen to buy the club," Ferrato told BBC Sport.

The club are months away from celebrating their 20th anniversary of their first European success, but sadly, they could be months away from extinction too.

Where did it all go wrong for the club? Who knows, but failing to pay bills has now left them struggling to get by on a day-to-day basis.

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