20-0 farce branded 'insult to sport' by Italian football chief
Pro Piacenza's 20-0 Serie C defeat at AC Cuneo stands as an "insult to sport", according to Italian Football Federation (FICG) president Gabriele Gravina. Crisis club Pro Piacenza named a seven-man startling line-up comprised of youth-team players and a massage therapist for Sunday's match at Cuneo's Stadio Fratelli Paschiero, where an inevitably farcical spectacle unfolded.
The Rossoneri's senior squad and coaching staff are on strike over unpaid wages and their previous three league games were forfeited as 3-0 walkovers in favour of Pro Vercelli, Juventus II and Siena. Had they done the same on Sunday, they faced being thrown out of a division where they lie bottom and have already been docked eight points this season.
Gravina made no apologies for his organisation enforcing its rules – something that extended to an eighth Pro Piacenza player not being allowed to enter the field until the 61st minute due to him not being in possession of the correct registration documents – but showed no appetite for such humiliating scenes to be repeated.
"What happened in Cuneo is an insult to sport and its founding principles," he said. "In this surreal situation, the FIGC had a duty to enforce all the rules, our responsibility is to protect the passion of the fans, healthy entrepreneurs and the credibility of our championships: the one we unfortunately witnessed will be the last farce."
Cuneo's victory more than doubled their goals tally prior to the match in the league this season, which stood at 18. Forwards Hicham Kanis and Edoardo Defendi scored six and five goals respectively in a first half that ended 16-0, while Michele Emmausso and Francesco De Stefano completed hat-tricks during the closing stages.
Last week, Serie C team Matera were excluded from the league after failing to meet fixture requirements amid financial woes of their own.