So dissatisfied at the current state of the game, Maurizio Zamparini, Palermo president, has threatened to quit the club and walk out of football all together.
This shocking announcement has come on the back of a 3-1 defeat to Milan where refereeing decisions went predominantly against the Rosanero. The despondent leader has said: ‘I will resign. I have had enough and I am leaving football definitely.’ Although Palermo were denied a few decisions, all the clubs representatives have overreacted to the officiating. Both clubs were penalised by poor officiating.
He continued: ‘I thought things had changed, but it’s still the same filth. Everything is down to the fact that I feel beaten by a false sports world where values have gone and where the economic and media powers of three and four teams dominate and want the Scudetto’s between them.’ This is hardly a shock that the top teams dominate the media and national attention but the revenue sharing system implemented this season was designed to distribute the wealth generated by the big teams to all of the Serie A clubs. It is obviously a problem well known by the league officials and is being addressed. The way to really break up this monopoly is to continually play in Europe and use the prize money to try and gain parity.
Palermo are on the right lines, they continually draw crowds to rival the big clubs and have a young squad to compete for years to come. These comments seem emotionally charged and not well thought through: ‘I am tired of fighting and I hope to leave it up to younger people with the enthusiasm to fight on.’ If he is serious about these comments then he is effectively giving up on his plan midway through the execution. This will in part be linked to the departure of Sporting Director Walter Sabatini, who left last week citing differences between the two. Unfortunately, this is likely to drag on whichever decision he may take and will be another cloud hanging over the Sicilian club.
Former Sporting Director, Rino Foschi, believes that Zamparini was just venting steam: ‘I can’t see Palermo without him. He can’t leave the club, even if I fully agree with him. Zamparini can’t live without football and Palermo can’t live without him. He has always been a very determined man and it is hard to see him leaving, despite his personal feelings. He has very much acted like a one-man army in his crusade and will regret opting out of this battle if he does.’
Zamparini took over Palermo in the summer of 2002 and has been in charge of the club in the most fruitful period of its history. He led them into Serie A and has assembled squads to permanently challenge for European competitions. His continual aim is to establish Palermo in the Champions League, which is why it is so difficult to see him leave. He has not achieved his goal yet but has assembled the pieces to at least come close. It is not worth giving up out of exasperation but use the negative energy to keep on fighting.
This is a shocking story for all Palermo fans, as the enigmatic owner would certainly be missed. The question he will have to answer is whether his departure will signal the birth of another fight against the “Big club” monopoly or the death. And in this question, here undoubtedly lies the answer.