Crisis club Pro Piacenza have been expelled from the Italian third division after fielding just seven players in a 20-0 defeat at Cuneo on Sunday.
The disciplinary committee of the Lega Pro said in a statement on Monday that the result would be revised to a forfeited 3-0 defeat for failing to observe league rules.
It was the club’s fourth forfeited game of the season, leading to their expulsion. They have been fined €30,000, with their results this season cancelled and no longer taken into account in the league table.
Pro Piacenza put only eight names on their teamsheet for the match with one of them, physio Alessio Picciarelli, ineligible to be listed. Picciarelli has been banned until the end of 2019.
“We would like to underline, in addition to the conscious, multiple and fraudulent violations performed by Pro Piacenza, the unacceptable behaviour of the club who, mortifying the very essence of sport competition, forced both the people included on their own teamsheet and their opponents’ players to take part in a farcical match from a technical point of view (as well as physically dangerous in the case of those not prepared from a competitive point of view),” the Lega Pro statement added.
It said Pro Piacenza had “subverted, overturned and literally trampled on” principles of honesty and correctness.
Earlier on Monday, it was announced that the club had been docked eight points and their president Maurizio Pannella banned for six months for financial irregularities. The sanctions were imposed by the Italian FA.
Dario Polverini, who moved to Virtus Verona in January after walking out on Piacenza, told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “A really strong squad was built in July and we went into our preseason training camp with high hopes.
“Ten new players arrived in the final days of the transfer window and we had a squad of 33 and a really high budget for this level. We won three and drew two of our first five games and were top of the league, then when the first deadline arrived on Oct. 15, the owners didn’t pay the wages.
“In fact, in November our wages for August arrived, albeit without the [social security and tax] contributions, so it was practically cut in half. At the deadline in December, the payments didn’t arrive, despite reassurances from the president, and the situation deteriorated.
“In the meantime, rumours started doing the rounds in the city and the owners of our apartments told us that if we didn’t pay [the rent], we would have to leave. A lot of us were forced to do this, even players with families and children.
“I ask myself how it is possible that a company who were sponsors of a Serie A club [Lazio] cannot pay the wages in Serie C. It doesn’t add up.”