Parma match off as crisis grows

The Ducale club have not paid wages to players or staff since the summer and new owner Giampietro Manenti has failed to make the minimum payments against debt which were due on February 16.

With cash levels at the Stadio Ennio Tardini reportedly dipping below 40,000 euros (??29,700) this week, Parma were unable to fund matchday stewards for Sunday’s game and therefore requested it be held behind closed doors.

But players and coaches from both clubs have “expressed discomfort” over that proposition, leading the Italian Football Federation to order a postponement following a meeting held in the northern city on Friday.

An FIGC statement read: “The president has taken note of Parma’s request that Parma-Udinese, originally scheduled for February 22, take place exclusively behind closed doors.

“He has heard from the Italian Footballers’ Association and the Italian Association of Soccer Coaches who have expressed discomfort of players and coaches from both teams about playing behind closed doors.

“Decision: the rearrangement of the game to another date which will be decided by the Lega Serie A.”

Manenti’s Slovenian-based company Mapi Group became Parma’s third owners this season when they purchased the club earlier this month.

After team coaches and club vehicles were seized from the Collecchio training base earlier in the week, the first team’s training session on Friday was cancelled with players growing increasingly frustrated.

Parma captain Alessandro Lucarelli told the Italian media: “We’ve had a meeting with the president (Manenti) and what has emerged is the difficulty in bringing the money to Italy.

“He has reiterated that he will try to give us some guarantees in the next 24 hours.

“But our patience has a limit. We are a united group and we have given the club an ultimatum.

“The time is running out. We need facts, not words.”

Parma have won just three games all season and sit at the foot of the table, 13 points shy of safety following last weekend’s goalless draw at Roma.

Roberto Donadoni’s side have collected just one point from their last six league games.