The news hanging over everyone in Serie A these last few weeks has been the not-so-slow death of Parma. Already stuck at the bottom of the table and certain to be relegated, the club's massive financial woes have come to an ugly head, forcing their last two matches to be postponed and casting doubt as to whether or not they would even be able to play again this season.
Obviously having a club fail midseason would be incredibly bad for Serie A, so the league's organization worked with the FIGC to find a solution. Eventually they came up with a workable plan: the other 19 teams would create a €5 million fund to enable Parma to keep operating for the remainder of the season. The league voted
and Napoli were among those in favor of the plan*, with only Cesena's president -- who has essentially said "let them fail" on several occasions -- not in favor of the plan.
*When the story was first reported, it was only indicated that Cesena voted against the plan, with strong implications that the rest of the Serie A clubs were in favor. It has since emerged that Napoli were one of three clubs that abstained from voting, though Aurelio De Laurentiis' Twitter statement below is consistent with either report.
Now the president of the FIGC has to take the plan to Parma's players for approval. If they reject the deal, the club may not be able to finish the season. Of course, this may all be for naught -- Parma face a bankruptcy hearing on March 19th, and could be forced to suspend operations afterwards anyways. In order to help their case, the league has agreed to pool all club and player fines for the next two weeks in to a fund to present at the bankruptcy court, though in the face of over €100 million of debt and hundreds of thousands of euros' worth of property seized by the courts, a few hundred thousand euros might not make much of an impression.
After the vote, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis took to Twitter to explain his mindset in supporting the rescue plan:
So in his mind, it's less about saving Parma and more about protecting the league, both in the here and now and figuring out how to prevent this kind of scenario in the future. It's a reasonable position for De Laurentiis to take seeing as he bought Napoli at the bad end of an eerily similar situation and slowly guided them in to the powerful -- and financially stable -- position they are in now.
Hopefully this deal is accepted by the players and we get to keep seeing Parma this season. More importantly, hopefully we get to keep seeing Parma in the future as well. Losing a club with their history would be tragic and a massive loss for Serie A and Italian football on a whole. Let's hope for a positive resolution for both club and the employees and various staff who have gone without pay for far, far too long.