MILAN (Reuters) – Italian club Palermo, who have changed hands three times this season, have escaped relegation to the third tier Serie C after their sanction for administrative irregularities was cut on appeal.
The Sicilian club, famous for firing coaches, finished third in Serie B this season, earning a place in the promotion playoffs, but instead an Italian federation (FIGC) tribunal ruled that they be placed last in the 19-team table, condemning them to relegation.
However, the FIGC said in a statement that its appeal committee had changed the sanction, docking the team 20 points. This meant that Palermo have finished in eleventh place with 43 points, well clear of the relegation zone.
The tribunal also ruled that Foggia, Padova and Carpi, now the bottom three teams, will be relegated while Salernitana and Venezia will play off to avoid the fourth relegation spot.
Veteran owner Maurizio Zamparini sold Palermo to British-based Sport Capital Group for the symbolic price of 10 euros in December.
Three months later, ownership was transferred to Zamparini’s associates Daniela De Angeli and Rino Foschi and earlier this month the club was taken over again, this time by Italian-based Arkus network.
Zamparini was in charge for 16 years, famously hiring and firing over 40 coaches during that period.
Languishing in Serie B when Zamparini took over in 2002, pink-shirted Palermo won promotion in 2003-04 as they returned to the top flight after a more than 30-year wait.
In Zamparini’s first few years they routinely finished in the top half of the table, played in the UEFA Cup several times and had four players in Italy’s 2006 World Cup-winning squad.
But they were relegated in 2013, returned to the top flight at the first attempt and relegated again in 2016/17.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)