It is safe to say that Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini is fed up with Serie A football. The longtime owner of one of the league’s more respectable teams is saying that he wants out of the sport all together and the 69 year old owner also blamed his frustrations on “the values that have disappeared from the sport” and the “lack of fair play” that exists within the league.
Zamparini has owned Palermo for over 25 years, but leaves the sport “defeated” he admits. The final straw to the surprising decision likely came last weekend when his club lost to AC Milan 3-1 in a match that the owner believes heavily favored the Milan club by the officials. Zamparini did bring up several valid points to why he is frustrated with the league and the owner admits that he was hoping some thing would change overtime, but believes that the league favors 3 or 4 clubs to win the Scudetto every season and overlooks the rest of the teams in the league.
Here is what Zamparini had to say regarding the tough decision to leave:
Tomorrow morning I will resign. I am selling Palermo and I am leaving football definitively. I’ve had enough. I am tired of taking part in these episodes. I have taken my decision. I want to distance myself as soon as possible from this football. Palermo is up for sale from right now. I thought things had changed, but it’s still the same filth.
The following day Zamparini stayed true to his word and offered the following statement on the club’s website regarding his decision to sell the club:
I have given the go ahead to identify an ‘advisor’ to entrust with the sale of shares in Palermo football club. My decision is firm even in the suffering that I feel in leaving a beautiful group of fans like Palermo’s, with whom I am tied by a deep and mutual affection. The new owner of the club must certainly be of such a level as to guarantee the support of our objectives: that of being a great club.
Everything is owed to the fact that I feel that it is a pseudo-sporting world, and I leave defeated by it. Despite my 24-year ultra-like fight, the values of sport are vanishing ever more, where the economic and media power of three or four clubs that only want to share the Scudetti rules. I am tired of fighting also for my age. I hope to leave the helm to younger people who have the enthusiasm and the strength to fight and to change [football] for the better where I haven’t managed to do so, bringing the world of football back to the ambit of sport and of true values, ensuring games where the teams are on equal terms and the best can win with mutual guarantees of sporting fair play.
And although it is easy for people to call Zamparini a whiner or a loser for quitting the dream, I have to admit that I completely agree with all the points he is making. The league’s lack of a salary cap or system that can support smaller clubs makes owning a team a non-profit obligation to the town in which the team plays in. Owners today are losing tens of millions of dollars every year just to remain on the top tier and not even win any significant trophies. These leagues allow the richest most careless owners to spend away their problems and thus this drives up the market value of every available player out there.
Teams like Palermo that just want to get by another season on the top tier are forced to spend ridiculous amounts of money to compete with the Scudetto teams, so instead they make do with what they have and never progress up the board as a franchise. There is no “fair play” or “equal terms” in modern day European football and trying to play the game with the big boys has proven to be deathly to club debts in recent years. Perhaps chivalry is dead and perhaps the days of “fair play” in sports only exists in youth leagues.