Parma Calcio football club news
Parma Calcio 1913, commonly referred to as Parma, is an Italian football club based in Parma, Emilia-Romagna. It currently plays in Serie A.
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Full name Parma Calcio 1913 S.r.l.
Nickname(s) I Crociati (The Crusaders)
I Gialloblu (The Yellow and Blues)
I Ducali (The Duchy Men)
Gli Emiliani (The Emilians)
Founded 16 December 1913; 106 years ago, as Parma Foot Ball Club
1930; 90 years ago, as Parma Associazione Sportiva
1967; 53 years ago, as Parma Football Club
1970; 50 years ago, as Parma Associazione Calcio
29 June 2004; 15 years ago, as Parma Football Club S.p.A.
27 July 2015; 4 years ago as S.S.D. Parma Calcio 1913
22 July 2016; 3 years ago as Parma Calcio 1913
Ground Stadio Ennio Tardini,
Owner Nuovo Inizio Srl
President Pietro Pizzarotti
Head coach Roberto D'Aversa
League Serie A
2018–19 Serie A, 14th of 20
Website Club website
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Founded as Parma Football Club in December 1913, the club plays its home matches in the 27,906-seat Stadio Ennio Tardini, often referred to as simply Il Tardini, from 1923.
Financed by Calisto Tanzi, the club won eight trophies between 1992 and 2002, a period in which it achieved its best ever league finish, as runners-up in the 1996–97 season. The club has won three Coppa Italia, one Supercoppa Italiana, two UEFA Cups, one European Super Cup and one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.
Financial troubles were brought about in late 2003 by the Parmalat scandal which caused the parent company to collapse and resulted in the club operating in controlled administration until January 2007. The club was declared bankrupt in 2015 and re-founded in Serie D but secured a record three straight promotions to return to Serie A in 2018.
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Main article: History of Parma Calcio 1913
Early years (1913–1968)
Location of Parma in Italy
A club was founded in July 1913 as Verdi Foot Ball Club in honour of the centenary of famous opera composer Giuseppe Verdi, who was born in the province of Parma. It adopted yellow and blue as its colours. In December of the same year, Parma Foot Ball Club was formed from many of the original club's players and began wearing white shirts emblazoned with a black cross. Parma began playing league football during the 1919–20 season after the end of World War I. Construction of a stadium, the Stadio Ennio Tardini, began two years later. Parma became a founder member of Serie B after finishing as runners-up in the Prima Divisione in the 1928–29 season. The club would remain in Serie B for three years before being relegated and changing its name to Associazione Sportiva Parma in 1931. In the 1935–36 season, Parma became a founding member of Serie C, where the club stayed until winning promotion back to Serie B in 1943. Italian football was then brought to a halt as the Second World War intensified, although the team did make an appearance in the Campianto Alta Italia in 1944.
1956–57 Parma in Gialloblù shirt
Following the restart of organised football, Parma spent three years in Serie B, then split into two regional divisions, before again being relegated in 1948–49 to Serie C. The side would spend another five seasons in Serie C before an eleven-year spell in Serie B that included the achievement of ninth position in 1954–55, a club record at that time. This was an era in which the club's players generally held down other jobs or were still in education and when the town's amateur rugby union and volleyball sides, Rugby Parma F.C. 1931 and Ferrovieri Parma, proved more popular among the more privileged. Parma made its debut in European competition during the 1960–61 season, defeating Swiss side AC Bellinzona in the Coppa delle Alpi, but relegation to Serie C followed in 1964–65 season. Parma spent just one season in Serie C before a second successive relegation, this time to Serie D, in 1966.
Rebirth and improvement (1968–1989)
The club was in turmoil and was ordered into liquidation by the Court of Parma in 1968, changing its name to Parma Football Club that year. In 1969, another local team, Associazione Calcio Parmense, won promotion to Serie D. On 1 January 1970, A.C. Parmense adopted the sporting licence of the liquidated club which had been formed in 1913. This meant that it had the right to use the Crociata shirts, the badge and the city's name. This brought about a change of luck in both financial and sporting terms, as the side was crowned Serie D champions and spent three years in Serie C before promotion to Serie B; however, it was a short stay. The team was relegated back to Serie C in its second season in the division. A return to Serie B did not materialise until the end of the 1970s and the club again lasted only one season in the second division of Italian football.
1973–74 Parma in its classic Crociata shirt
Under the management of Cesare Maldini, Parma once again returned to Serie B after winning its division in 1984 with victory on the final day over Sanremo; Juventus-bound Stefano Pioli scored the only goal of the game. The Ducali again only spent a year in Serie B, finishing third from bottom and succumbing to relegation as a consequence. Arrigo Sacchi did, however, manage to return the club to Serie B in 1986 after a single season in the third tier. The side enjoyed good success that season in missing out on promotion to Italy's top tier by just three points and eliminating A.C. Milan from the Coppa Italia, a result that convinced owner Silvio Berlusconi to hire Sacchi as the new manager of the Rossoneri. Sacchi's replacement, Zdeněk Zeman, was fired after just seven matches and replaced by Giampieri Vitali, who secured two consecutive mid-table finishes.
Success and insolvency (1989–2004)
Nevio Scala was appointed as head coach in 1989. Scala's Parma secured a historic promotion in 1990 to Serie A with a 2–0 Derby dell'Enza win over Reggiana. Investment from parent company Parmalat helped to improve the team's fortunes and the club made its debut in UEFA competition in 1991. Scala led the club to its first four major honours. The first of these was the Coppa Italia in 1991–92, beating Juventus 2–1 over two legs. The following year came the first international triumph in a 3–1 victory in the Cup Winners' Cup over Belgian side Antwerp at Wembley. The next season, the side was successful in the European Super Cup, overcoming Milan 2–1 on aggregate, but lost the Cup Winners' Cup final 1–0 to Arsenal. Scala's final success with Parma was in another two-legged final against Juventus: Dino Baggio scored twice to give Parma a 2–1 aggregate win, but Juventus exacted revenge in the Coppa Italia final. Replaced by Carlo Ancelotti, Scala departed in 1996 and was a popular coach for the trophies he won and because the team played attractive football in the tradition of the club.
Hernán Crespo represented the club in two spells, winning three trophies and becoming the club's all-time record goalscorer.
Ancelotti overhauled the team and guided it to a record second place in 1997. Parma consequently made its debut in the UEFA Champions League the following year. Alberto Malesani was installed as coach in 1998 and the club completed a rare cup double in his first season, winning the Coppa Italia final against Fiorentina on the away goals rule and the UEFA Cup against Marseille at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow with a 3–0 victory before 1999 Supercoppa Italiana victory over league champions Milan followed in August 1999. In 2000, Hernán Crespo was sold to Lazio for a world record transfer fee and Malesani departed.
Under replacement Renzo Ulivieri, the club lost the Coppa Italia final to Fiorentina. Under Pietro Carmignani in 2002, Parma won the third Coppa Italia trophy against Juventus (but would slip to defeat in the 2002 Supercoppa Italiana) and finished outside the top six for the first time since promotion in 1990. This success earned it a tag as one of the "Seven Sisters". In April 2004, the club was declared insolvent following the financial meltdown of Parmalat and the club remained in special administration for three years.
Rebirth and another bankruptcy (2004–2015)
The club re-formed as Parma Football Club SpA in June 2004 (as a subsidiary of being liquidated Parma AC SpA) and the 2004–05 season saw Parma plummet to its lowest finish in Serie A – despite a second consecutive 23-goal haul from Gilardino, who was then sold for €25 million – as managers came and went. Parma ended the following season, its first without European competition since 1991, in tenth, but returned in 2006 after the Calciopoli scandal.
Claudio Ranieri managed Parma during the latter half of the 2006–07 season.
On 24 January 2007, Tommaso Ghirardi bought the club out of administration and became the owner and president of the club. Manager Claudio Ranieri helped the team avoid relegation to Serie B on the final day of the 2006–07 season following his February appointment. However, under a succession of managers, Parma's battle with relegation the following year was not successful, consigning the club to Serie B after 18 years in the top flight.
Francesco Guidolin won promotion back to Serie A at the first attempt with a second-place finish and led the side to eighth on its return to Serie A in 2009–10, narrowly missing out on qualification for the UEFA Europa League before leaving for Udinese. In May 2010, Guidolin swapped jobs with Pasquale Marino, who was sacked by Ghirardi in April 2011 when Parma was caught in another relegation dogfight. Under Marino's replacement, Franco Colomba, Parma escaped the threat of relegation with two games to spare. In January 2012, Colomba was replaced by Roberto Donadoni following a winless run that culminated in a 5–0 loss to Inter Milan and the new coach led the team to eighth position in a Serie A club record seven-match winning run.
In 2014, Donadoni guided Parma to sixth in Serie A and a third consecutive top ten finish, but a return to Europe in the Europa League for the first time since 2007 was barred due to the late payment of income tax on salaries, not qualifying for a UEFA license, for which the club would also be docked points during the 2014–15 Serie A season. Financial troubles precipitated a succession of ownership changes and the club's eventual bankruptcy in March 2015 with total liabilities of €218 million, including €63m unpaid salaries. The club was allowed to finish the season but finished bottom of the league in 20th place. Administrators Angelo Anedda and Alberto Guiotto were forced to put some trophies to sell in an auction in a desperate attempt to raise money to cover the debt. These included: three Coppa Italia won in 1992, 1999 and 2002, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup from 1993, the 1994 UEFA Super Cup, two UEFA Cup of 1995 and 1999 and the 1999 Supercoppa Italiana.
Another rebirth (2015–present)
The re-founded club, S.S.D. Parma Calcio 1913, was formed in July 2015, taking its name from the year of foundation of the predecessor club and securing a place in the 2015–16 Serie D under article 52 of N.O.I.F. as the representative of Parma. Ex-head coach Nevio Scala was appointed as president and former player Luigi Apolloni was chosen as head coach. In the club's first season, it sold over 9,000 season tickets, more than doubling the Serie D record. Parma achieved promotion from Serie D into professional football league Lega Pro with three games to spare following a 2–1 win against Delta Rovigo, ending the season in first place with 94 points from 38 games, and an unbeaten run of 28 victories and 10 draws.
Parma ended the 2016–17 Lega Pro season in second place of Group B, but were promoted to Serie B after a 2–0 win over Alessandria in the promotion play-off final. On 18 May 2018, Parma achieved a third promotion in three seasons, becoming the first Italian football club to achieve this, having finished the 2017–18 Serie B season second behind champions Empoli and level on points with Frosinone, but achieving automatic promotion due to a better head-to-head record, thus making a comeback to the top flight for the next season in 2018–19 Serie A just three seasons after their bankruptcy relegation to Serie D. On 23 July 2018, Parma were handed a 5 point deduction for the 2018–19 Serie A season, following text messages from Parma player Emanuele Calaio "eliciting a reduced effort" from two players of Spezia (Filippo De Col and Claudio Terzi) during the 2017–18 season, a match Parma won 2–0 to secure promotion. On 9 August, Parma had the 5-point deduction expunged.
In the club's first season back in Serie A, they managed to achieve a 14th placed finish on the table, three points above the relegation zone.
Colours and badge
Originally, the club wore yellow and blue chequered shirts in honour of the city's traditional colours, which date back to 1545 when the Duchy of Parma was established, but white shirts with a black cross on the chest were introduced after the First World War, drawing inspiration from Juventus' colours, following a name change. White continued to be worn as the main colour of the home kits for much of the remainder of the century, although often complemented with yellow, blue or both, rather than black. The club did, however, experiment in the 1950s with blue shirts and blue and yellow striped shirts. The cross shirts were restored and worn until bankruptcy in 1968, when white shirts with off-centre blue and yellow vertical bands were worn, but the cross returned from 1970 until 1983 when a yellow and blue-sleeved white shirt was introduced and used for 8 years.
After decades in the lower divisions, Parma was promoted to Serie A in 1990, where the side immediately became a major force in the battle for major trophies, on many notable occasions in direct opposition to Juventus, who would become fierce rivals of Parma's. This rivalry and the influence of Parmalat led to the demotion of the white shirts to the away kit, so the side wore yellow and blue hooped shirts at home for six seasons between 1998 and 2004, and navy blue shirts often worn as third choice in this period. This was a time of great success for the club, thus the shirts became synonymous with Parma, often still called the Gialloblù (Yellow and Blues) today, despite a recent reversion to the traditional white shirts emblazoned with a cross caused by parent company Parmalat's collapse and the clubs subsequent re-foundation as Parma Football Club. Yellow and blue were Parma's traditional change colours, used in various combinations from 2004 to 2015, such as vertical stripes, hoops, crosses or as solid colour designs.
Parma's logo changed in 2005 to reflect the name change from Parma A.C. to Parma F.C., but the logo otherwise remained the same, encompassing the city colours of yellow and blue and the club's traditional black cross set on a white background, and has not changed much in years, although it was dramatically overhauled to feature a prancing bull for one season in 2000–01 before it was criticised and discontinued in favour of the old badge. A new badge with broadly similar features was introduced for the 2014–15 season following the use of a commemorative centenary badge for the 2013–14 campaign. The newly formed club in 2015 adopted a new logo before acquiring the rights to a number of legacy items for €250,000 a year later.
Parma F.C.'s crest until 2012
Parma F.C. logo, 2014–15
S.S.D. Parma Calcio 1913 badge, 2015–16
Main articles: Stadio Ennio Tardini and Centro Sportivo di Collecchio
Stadio Ennio Tardini, Parma's home stadium
Parma initially had no permanent home and used the Piazza d'Armi, where two wooden posts constituted the frame of each goal. In December 1914, the club began to use land between the Via Emilia, the Eridania refinery and the Ferraguti factory, but it was sold, so the club returned to the Piazza d'Armi before transferring to the Tre Pioppi, the first fenced-off pitch in the city. Parma moved into the Stadio Ennio Tardini in 1923 and remains there today, although the stadium saw drastic change from the vision of Ennio Tardini, under whose auspices the stadium was to be built, but who died before completion of the venue. Much of the renovation took place after the club's first promotion to Serie A at the start of the 1990s.
Since 1996, the first team has trained and played friendly matches at the Centro Sportivo di Collecchio in Collecchio, which is located 15 kilometres to the south-west of the stadium. Parma's youth teams also play their home matches in the same complex. Until 2015, younger youth teams trained at Campi Stuard but now train at Collechio. In 2018, the refounded Parma Calcio 1913 acquired the centre from the administrator of Eventi Sportivi S.p.A., the parent company of Parma F.C., and the former owner of the centre, for about €3 million.
The coat of arms of the House of Farnese – creators of the Duchy of Parma – whose colours are the inspiration for many of the club's kits
The supporters of Parma are seen as placid fans. Traditionally, they have been seen as fans who enjoy the spectacle of football and are less partisan, although they have been more characterised by impatience of late. The supporters were praised for their loyalty after the club sold more season tickets in 2015 when playing in Serie D than the previous year in Serie A following bankruptcy. In Northeast Italy, the team is the fifth best supported, behind Inter Milan, Juventus, Milan and Bologna, the first three of which are not based in that region. They are represented by three main groups: il Centro di Coordinamento dei Parma Club (which represents most of the fanbase), l'Associazione Petitot and the club's ultras, Boys Parma, which was established on 3 August 1977 by young fans wanting to split from the Centro di Coordinamento and to encourage meetings with opposition fans. The Boys Parma occupy the northern end of the home stadium, La Curva Nord, directly opposite to where the away fans sit in the south stand. In 2008, the Curva Nord was renamed in honour of Boys Parma 1977 member Matteo Bagnaresi, who died when he was run over on the way to the Tardini by a coach which was carrying the opposition Juventus fans. In a not uncommon practice, the number 12 shirt has been reserved for the Parma fans, meaning no player is registered to play with that number on his kit for the club. The implication is that the supporters, particularly those of the famous Curva Nord, are the twelfth man. The last player to be registered with the number was Gabriele Giroli for the 2002–03 season. Parma's club anthem is Il grido di battaglia, which means "The Battle Cry".
Main articles: Derby dell'Enza and Derby dell'Emilia
Parma maintains rivalries with regional and national clubs; some of these are keenly fought local derbies. Derby dell'Enza[nb 1] opponents Reggiana are the club's bitterest rivals. The ill-feeling with Reggiana comes from a traditional city rivalry between Parma and Reggio Emilia. Parma contests the Derby dell'Emilia[nb 2] with Bologna. Bologna and Parma are Emilia-Romagna's two most decorated clubs, winning the region's only domestic titles: 7 Serie A titles and 5 Coppe Italia. Two other local derbies are the Derby dei Ducati,[nb 3] which is contested with neighbours Modena, and the Derby del Ducato,[nb 4] which is played against Piacenza. Despite their relative obscurity, Lombardian side Cremonese and Tuscan outfit Carrarese, to Parma's north and south, respectively, are both seen as rivals too.
Juventus is considered a great rival of Parma largely due to their recent duels, which include Parma's 1995 UEFA Cup victory, its first and third Coppa Italia triumphs, Supercoppa Italiana defeats in 1995 and 2002, and its 1995 domestic cup final defeat to The Old Lady. These six matches comprise nearly half of the fourteen major finals Parma has participated in. Ironically, Parma's colours have their origins in those Juventus wears, and the switch from white and black to a yellow and blue home kit in the late 1990s took place in order to distance and distinguish Parma from Juventus. Parma maintain keenly fought rivalries with Vicenza and Genoa.
In Italy, it is common for clubs to be twinned in an arrangement called gemellaggi. This is a practice uncommon elsewhere. Parma enjoy amicable relations with Empoli in an arrangement that dates back to a game played in foggy conditions in 1984 that ended in the Parma fans congratulating those of Empoli on its win when the full-time whistle was blown without the Azzurri fans' knowledge. Perhaps a more current bond is felt towards the fans of Sampdoria.
Ownership and finances
In 1991, the club was bought by multinational Italian dairy and food corporation Parmalat. This was the platform for success on the pitch but the club eventually succumbed to administration in 2004 due to Parmalat's massive bankruptcy with debts of $20 billion and fraudulent activity at Parmalat worth over €10 billion and a €167 million net loss by the club in 2003. On 24 January 2007, engineering entrepreneur Tommaso Ghirardi bought the club after three years of administration for $39 million and incorporated Eventi Sportivi as a holding company owning 100% of the club's shares of €20 million nominal value. Eventi Sportivi Srl (later S.p.A.), at first had a share capital of just €3 million, with Banca Monte Parma, owned 10% of the shares as minority. By 21 January 2009, Ghirardi's ownership of Eventi Sportivi was 75% with Banca Monte Parma holding 10% and Marco Ferrari, former vice-president Diego Penocchio and Penocchio's company Brixia Incipit each owning 5%. In July 2011, Ghirardi sold to both Alberto Rossi and Alberto Volpi 5% each of Eventi Sportivi. On 29 February 2014, Energy T.I. Group bought 10% of the shares in the club from Eventi Sportivi.
Parma-born motorsport businessman Gian Paolo Dallara was a founding investor in S.S.D. Parma Calcio 1913
On 19 December 2014 and as a result of a ruling which barred the club from a first European campaign under Tommaso Ghirardi, Ghirardi sold his 66.55% controlling stake in Eventi Sportivi to Dastraso Holding Ltd, a company based in Cyprus and controlled by Rezart Taçi for €1, at which point the club was $200 million in debt. The club became the third Serie A club to become foreign-owned as a result and Albanian Emir Kodra was installed as president.
In February 2015, Taci sold his stake to Giampietro Manenti for the price he bought it, €1, less than two months after buying it, at which point salaries at the financially stricken club had not been paid since the previous summer. With Parma bottom of Serie A, Manenti was arrested in March 2015 on allegations of money laundering and his involvement in a credit card fraud ring, imperilling the already precarious situation as the club was plunged further into debt.
On 19 March 2015, the club was declared bankrupt with a total liabilities of €218 million (including unpaid wages of €63 million). On 22 April 2015, the intermediate holding company of Parma, Eventi Sportivi SpA, was also declared bankruptcy by the Tribunal of Parma. The club was then declared legally bankrupt on 22 June 2015 after no new investors willing to refurbish €22.6 million debt in order to trigger Comma 3 of Article 52 of N.O.I.F. to allow the club to remain in Serie B. Other debts of the club were either waived by the footballers or settled by the administrator. New investor was not required to repay the subordinated debt and bank debt of the old company. The medals of Parma, which was owned by the company, as well as Centro Sportivo di Collecchio which was owned by its holding company Eventi Sportivi, were under auction after the bankruptcy.
The phoenix club S.S.D. Parma Calcio 1913 S.r.L. was incorporated in 2015 under the ownership of Nuovo Inizio SrL with share capital of €250,000. Nuovo Inizio was owned by a number of backers including representatives of Parmalat and local businessmen Guido Barilla (co-owner of Barilla Group), Paolo Pizzarotti (president of Impresa Pizzarotti), Mauro Del Rio and Gian Paolo Dallara.  The new owners sought to overhaul the core philosophy of Italian club ownership and formed Parma Partecipazioni Calcistiche SrL to act as a vehicle for fan ownership, so issued a further €89,286 of shares to that company. Fans therefore own approximately 25% of the club at a cost of €500 per share.
In June 2017, Chinese businessman Jiang Lizhang's Desports group acquired a 60% majority stake in the club. The seven local businessman who launched the club in 2015 retained 30% of the club, while the remaining 10% remained in the hands of fans through Parma Partecipazione Calcistiche. At the end of October 2018 the local Nuovo Inizio group regained control of the club reacquiring 60% of the shares, with the Chinese partners forced to downsize to 30% in light of alleged lack of diligence in meeting their obligations, while 10% remained unchanged in the public company Partecipazioni Calcistiche. On 9 November Parma Calcio held a shareholders’ Meeting to appoint a new Board of Directors, at the end of which Pietro Pizzarotti, at the time vice-president, was appointed the new president of the club