Wednesday May 21 2014
Ghirardi: I may walk away

Parma President Tommaso Ghirardi says he will walk away from football if the Ducali’s appeal to be awarded a UEFA License is unsuccessful.

The club had earned a spot in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League on the final day of the Serie A season, but have had their participation thrown into doubt, having not yet been awarded a UEFA License by the Italian Football Federation.

The issue centres on an unpaid tax bill of €300,000, which the club insist they do not have to pay until the end of June and that they are now taking as an appeal case to the High Court.

For their President, the situation is disheartening and has him considering his future.

 “These are things that make you lose the desire,” Ghirardi has told the Gazzetta dello Sport today.

“I will leave this world if this situation is not clarified.

“I have poured in €13m, it is shame to tell me that we cannot participate in the Europa League for €300,000.”

Ghirardi then appeared on Radio Parma this morning to run through the issue in detail.

“We are experiencing some trouble in these days which we believed we would be celebrating,” continued the 39-year-old.

“We have obtained the chance to compete in the preliminary round thanks to a great season. I am convinced that we have merited everything on the field.

“Now there is an issue that I have known about for a couple of weeks, this little anomaly had already been reported, but I was told it was only an issue of interpretation.

“What is the problem? We have players who are at other clubs, like everyone else. They are registered by their club and paid by this club.

“Let’s take the example of Crotone, where we have players out on loan. If Crotone give them a wage that is lower than what they receive from us, we pay the rest. It is called a sales incentive plan, a kind of balance.

“Since some of them have had economic issues during the season, they have asked us for a kind of loan last December and we have granted it.

“Practically, we have advanced the incentive payment that we would have paid in June, as required by regulation.

“Being a loan, personal income tax has not been paid, and that is what we are challenging.

“Am I optimistic? I have to be, I cannot think otherwise.”

Ghirardi was asked if there was an issue with the Stadio Ennio Tardini passing UEFA License requirements.

“No, no, the UEFA License is covered in every way. But, we have indicated the Stadio Alberto Braglia [Modena’s ground] as an alternative so as to have no problems.

“What I do not understand is how their stadium could be good for UEFA, when Modena have never played in Europe, whilst we played just a few years ago.

“But, we are proceeding with all the tasks so as to ensure the Tardini passes.”

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