MILAN // At least four third-tier Italian clubs will not take part in this season's championship because of financial difficulties, the president of the country's football federation Giancarlo Abete said yesterday. Treviso and Venezia, who have both played in Serie A in the last decade, and relegated Serie B clubs Pisa and Avellino failed to give sufficient economic guarantees to authorities.
"They will not enter next season. Iit is now crucial to find businessmen who can breathe new life into the clubs and keep finances balanced," Abete said. Other professional clubs in Italy's third division, now known as Lega Pro rather than Serie C, are at risk of dropping out, officials have said. Authorities hope any clubs forced to drop out will be able to carry on playing in amateur leagues, but dozens of players who want to stay professional are now seeking work.
Several Italian clubs encountered financial problems in the last few years before the global economic crisis. Top flight sides Fiorentina and Napoli went bankrupt and were reformed in the lower leagues before rising back up the ladder. Officials have been trying to make clubs more financially secure for years but the market regulator Consob said it had been a mistake for some of them to list on the stock exchange.
The listed club AS Roma have suffered from a cash shortage and attempts to strike a deal with prospective buyers have failed. The share price has fluctuated widely and prosecutors have opened probes for market manipulation. "I believe that listing clubs has been an error," the Consob president Lamberto Cardia said. "The enthusiastic declaration of a fan or a match that goes well or goes badly is enough to make the shares jump up or down."
Juventus are also listed on Milan's bourse. * Reuters