It is not a pleasant thing to be a Parma fan right now. The club is nearly €100 million in debt - or well over that mark by some reports - and hasn't paid its players in over six months. Players have canceled their contracts and left the club. The club has been sold twice this season, apparently for a whopping €1 euro each time thanks to the staggering levels of debt. This weekend's match against Udinese has been postponed due to the club's inability to pay stewards or other stadium staff.
For Napoli fans, the situation is eerily similar to the partenopei's own history.
In 2004, the club entered administration after years of financial mismanagement. The club was losing tens of millions of euros every year with no way to stem the bleeding. Every legal loophole the club had tried to use only put off the inevitable: Napoli were bankrupt. The club had failed. The club was dying.
Fortunately, Aurelio De Laurentiis rescued the club, taking on the club's debts and helping re-form the business. The club was allowed to resume playing in Serie C, climbing to Serie B after two seasons and re-joining Italy's top division after just a year. The rest, as they say, is history -- but for awhile there, it looked as though Napoli's history was done, over with, and bound to be forgotten.
Now Parma are faced with that same terrifying possibility. Though their players have agreed to hold off on legal action regarding unpaid wages for the time being, the clubs creditors aren't happy with going unpaid since July and could force the club in to bankruptcy court and administration. Even if that doesn't happen, the club has a court date in March regarding unpaid taxes that could end with the same fate.
The FIGC is entirely unamused with the situation at hand, twice docking Parma a point over unpaid wages and taxes and cancelling this weekend's match despite a proposal to play behind closed doors. There's even talk that Parma will be forced to forfeit their remaining matches this season, though that seems slightly extreme at this stage.
The players want to save the club. The fans want to save the club. The new owners seem desperate to save the club. The question is whether or not it can be done. Ten years ago, Napoli was saved. Now, in a much more difficult and volatile financial era, that may not be so simple. One thing is for sure, though: Napoli fans feel for their Parma counterparts, and are hoping only for a positive outcome to their club's crisis.