Parma declared bankrupt, face relegation to amateur leagues

Italian club Parma have announced bankruptcy after the last remaining potential investor pulled out of buying the debt-stricken club only hours before a deadline to complete a deal with the club's administrators.

Parma were officially declared bankrupt earlier this year, although the Lega Serie A advanced a relegation parachute payment to enable them to reach the end of the season.

They were relegated to Serie B, but after Parma confirmed that no parties had come forward to buy the club and take on the debts, they will have to start out again from even lower down the footballing pyramid in Serie D.

A statement on the club's official website read: "The administrators of Parma FC Dr Angelo Anedda and Dr Alberto Guiotto announce that, at 14.00 of today, June 22 2015, no offer has been made to purchase the sports club.

In the coming hours, the administrators will meet with the committee of creditors and the empowered judge Dr Pietro Rogato to make the necessary decisions regarding the procedure of bankruptcy and a provisional accountancy period."

Mike Piazza, a former baseball player, was Parma's last hope of surviving, but he pulled out on Monday, just hours before the deadline to save the Italian club.

"It is with great sadness and regret that I have to announce I am abandoning negotiations to buy Parma FC," Piazza said in a statement published by the Italian media, including the Corriere della Sera. "I understand and share the disappointment of the Parma fans for this decision.

"Together with my co-investors on the project, we did not feel the necessary investment to cover the current and future debts of a squad whose foundation has been strongly compromised was sustainable.

"I would like to thank the city of Parma for the support they have given me, and my colleagues Maurizio Franzone, Gibo Gerali and Bill Holmberg, whose experience and assistance in this matter have been invaluable.

"Finally, I would like to thank the administrators and all those who have tirelessly invested time and energy searching for a positive solution for Parma's crisis."

Parma will be relegated to Serie D -- Italy's fifth division -- for the first time in 45 years. Brescia, who were relegated from Serie B last season, will be reinstated to the Italian second division as a result.

Parma's problems started a year ago when they were not granted a licence by UEFA to play in the Europa League due to financial mismanagement.

Then president Tommaso Ghirardi sold the club for one euro to a Russian-Cypriot conglomerate in December, but they remained in charge for just two months before selling the club on to Giampietro Manenti for the same price.

Weeks after he had repeatedly promised to pay the wages, which had not been paid since last July, the Italian businessman was arrested on suspicion of fraud and money-laundering.

Parma's players went on strike over the unpaid wages until the Lega Serie A stepped in to pay off a proportion of the debts by advancing a payment due to all clubs upon relegation from the top flight of Italian football.

Parma still finished bottom of Serie A last season with 19 points, having been docked seven for failing to pay wages. Even without that points' deduction, they would have been relegated to Serie B.