Friday, 16 July 2010

Ancona and 20 Lega Pro clubs thrown out

Serie B outfit Ancona and 20 other teams from the third and fourth tiers of Italian football were blocked from competing in the coming season because of their financial problems.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) said in a statement the decision had come after the country's football finance watchdog deemed the clubs' balance sheets too precarious.

"Serie B side Ancona and 20 Lega Pro clubs will not be readmitted to their championships after the consideration of Covisoc's findings," read a FIGC statement.

Italian football has been hit hard by the global economic crisis given smaller clubs were struggling even before the recession.

All clubs in Italy must prove their financial stability to the Covisoc financial committee before they are allowed to register. However, it was announced that a total of 42 clubs from Serie B, Lega Pro Prima Divisione and Lega Pro Seconda Divisione failed the inspections.

The failure to provide further financial documents by last week's appeals deadline has resulted in Serie B's Ancona, Figline of Lega Pro 1, and Legnano, Potenza, Pro Vercelli and Sangiustese from Lega Pro 2 being declared bankrupt and excluded from the new season.

Fifteen clubs from the two lower divisions had already been dropped from their championships as they decided not to appeal against Covisoc's investigations.

As a result, Lega Pro 1 will also be without Arezzo, Gallipoli, Mantova, Marcianise, Perugia and Rimini next season, while Alghero, Cassino, Itala San Marco, Manfredonia, Monopoli, Olbia, Pescina, Pro Vasto and Scafatese threw in the towel from Lega Pro 2.

"Twenty-one teams have left the system," said Lega Pro President Mario Macalli. "It's a situation that we have seen for the last two or three years and it is unacceptable.

"That is why the Federal Council has granted me to lead a delegation to immediately investigate and reform the structure of the professional league system.

"For us it is a very bad night," he added.

Twenty-one other clubs were successful with their appeals at today's FIGC Federal Council meeting in Rome, meaning Ascoli and Portogruaro can prepare for the new Serie B campaign.

Lega Pro 1 clubs Cavese, Cremonese, Foggia, Gubbio, Salernitana, Spal, Triestina and Viareggio, and Lega Pro 2 sides Chieti, Crociati Noceto, Fondi, Gavorrano, Milazzo, Montichiari, Paganese, Prato, Rodengo, Sangiovannese and Villacidres - all of whom initially failed to comply with the Covisoc criteria, are now in the clear and will be allowed to register for the 2010-11 season.

Most of the excluded clubs will be expected to apply for a place in the regional amateur Serie D league - the highest non-professional league, next season, or start all over again at the bottom of the Italian football pyramid.

The 21 clubs that will replace those excluded from Serie B, Lega Pro 1 and Lega Pro 2 will be announced in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, the Federal Council meeting was not attended by representatives of the Lega Serie A or Lega Serie B in protest at the recent decision to limit clubs to only buy one non-EU player this season rather than the previous two.

Clubs complained that the decision, made in the wake of Italy's shock exit in the FIFA World Cup group stage in South Africa, was too rash and could not be suddenly enforced in the middle of a transfer window.

"There's no turning back," FIGC President Giancarlo Abete told a news conference.

Abete also said a decison would be made at the next meeting in August over a new head of the Technical and Youth Sector, with former Italy great Roberto Baggio interested in the role having stayed out of the game since his 2004 retirement.

In a separate development, the Italian Professional Footballers' Association (AIC) has hinted at a possible threat to strike on the first day of the new league season after a disagreement with the Federation over several of the new rules.

"We are considering drastic industrial action," AIC chief Sergio Campana told reporters.

The association threatened a similar strike for the first day of last season but the action was averted.

Source: Reuters / FIGC

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