A day after losing 20-0 in an officially sanctioned Serie C match, Pro Piacenza has been kicked out of the Italian third division, according to the Associated Press.
Pro Piacenza fielded only seven players, including one staff member and the rest teenagers, amid severe financial issues. Already dead last in the league table, Pro Piacenza had been fined almost $40,000 earlier Monday and docked eight points.
The recent history of Pro Piacenza is chaotic, fraught with financial troubles, mergers and yo-yoing between leagues. According to the Mirror, the club hasn’t paid players or staff since August, leading to most of their resignations, and a lawyer representing as many as 15 players has filed for bankruptcy. The Italian Football Federation will hold a hearing on the matter on March 11.
It’s no surprise, then, that Pro Piacenza would be on the wrong end of the 20-0 scoreline Sunday against Cuneo, and the numbers verged on unbelievable for a professional match between two teams in the same division. To wit:
• Cuneo went up 4-0 by the 10th minute
• Cuneo went up 8-0 by the 20th minute
• Cuneo went up 11-0 by the half-hour mark
• Cuneo went up 16-0 at halftime
• Italian striker Edoardo Defendi had a hat trick inside of 16 minutes
• Italian-born Moroccan striker Hicham Kanis had a hat trick inside of 17 minutes
• Defendi had five goals by the 22nd minute
• Kanis had a double-hat trick with six goals by the 36th minute
You get this idea. Here’s the first-half carnage in chronological form, via Squawka:
HT in Italy’s Serie C:
Cueno 16-0 Pro Piacenza
The visitors started with just eight players (all under the age of 20) to avoid another ‘walkover’ that may seem them kicked out of Serie C. pic.twitter.com/4Yuo5vfUsg
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) February 17, 2019
And here’s the official match team sheet:
It’s such a bonkers situation that one wonders why the match was allowed to go forward in the first place. Then again, this is Italy, where the domestic soccer bureaucracy has been a corrupt mess for decades, and those tentacles reach down to the lower levels.
“The problem is we need to figure out what to change in Italian football in general and not just (Serie C),” league president Francesco Ghirelli said, according to Football Italia.
For the sake of Pro Piacenza, its players and the notion of pure competition, this needs to be resolved quickly. When the final score is 20-0, everyone should be embarrassed.
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