Xtratime Community banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As AC Fiorentina limped out of Serie A last Sunday, headed for the club's third ever relegation following a 1-0 home defeat against S.S. Lazio, the club's fans might have been forgiven for feeling that, at least, the worst was behind them now. In reality, it could be that the Fiorentina crisis is only beginning.

Breathing space
In theory, a year in Serie B could offer the club vital breathing space. It could represent a chance to radically reconstruct a new, low-cost side built around younger players, good enough to win immediate promotion back to Serie A.

Heartwarming precedent
Certainly things worked out well when Fiorentina last went down, at the end of the 1992/93 season. That side strolled through the subsequent Serie B season, thanks to experienced, international players like Argentina's Gabriel Batistuta, Germany's Stefan Effenberg, and Italy's own Francesco Baiano and goalkeeper Francesco Toldo.

Economic realities
The Fiorentina side that will compete in Serie B next season will be very different. As the club tries to ride out a financial crisis that, at the moment, even threatens its place in the Italian second division, they will be forced to make major economies in the playing staff.

Criminal investigations
Fiorentina's problems, of course, are linked to those of its owner, the volatile cinema tycoon Vittorio Cecchi Gori who has been caught up in an ongoing investigation into allegations of money laundering and fraud since last summer.

Angry supporters
His problems and the resultant economic uncertainty highlighted by long delays in the payment of players' wages, have not only undermined the club's season but have also totally alienated the majority of Fiorentina's fans who for almost a year now have been calling on him to sell his majority shareholding in the club.

Intricate financial web
The problem is that, even if Cecchi Gori were willing to sell - and there has been no definite indication of this - the financial transaction could prove very difficult since his package of shares have already been posted as collateral for debts incurred by Fin.Ma.Vi., Cecchi Gori's cinema production company.

Guarantees demanded
All of which means that when COVISOC, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC)'s economic regulatory board, come to consider Fiorentina's application for a place in Serie B next season, it will look long and hard for guarantees of economic stability. Even if, as seems likely, Fiorentina manage to emerge unscathed from forthcoming bankruptcy proceedings called by a Florence-based public prosecutor, the club's future remains uncertain.

Candlelit procession
Fiorentina fans, of course, believe that Cecchi Gori should sell and sell soon to almost any individual or business concern which is financially stable. Just to underline the point, the fans staged a highly successful protest at the Lazio game and staged a late-night candlelit procession through central Florence, calling on Cecchi Gori to go.

Unhappy events
Not all of Fiorentina's problems, of course, have not all been of Cecchi Gori's making. Throughout the season, Dame Fortune has not smiled on the club. The early omens augured ill when star striker Enrico Chiesa was ruled out for the rest of the season on only the fifth round of Serie A action last September with a damaged cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Injury problems
Subsequent injuries to Moreno Torricelli, Yugoslavia's Pedrag Mijatovic, Portugal's Nuno Gomes, Roberto Baronio and Sandro Cois hardly helped matters. The dismissal of coach Roberto Mancini in January and his subsequent replacement by the experienced Ottavio Bianchi did not manage to right the listing ship.

Bankruptcy claims
For a while it seemed that the arrival of talented 20-year-old Brazilian striker Adriano, loaned last January from Internazionale FC, might provide the necessary fillip to avoid the drop. Yet, even his valuable contribution proved unable to lift a team whose morale had clearly hit rock-bottom in February when more than ten first-team players, frustrated by non-payment of wages, called on the FIGC to declare the club bankrupt.

Uncertain future
With Serie B now on the horizon, Fiorentina are looking for younger (and cheaper) players, a new coach and, probably most important of all, a new owner. Without these, their troubles may be far from over.

Breathing Space Heartwarming precedent Economic Realities Economic Realities Criminal investigations

Premium Member
22,583 Posts
Thanks for the informatin Sebastien.

except I think instead of "the volatile cinema tycoon Vittorio Cecchi Gori" it should have been "the volitile criminal tycoon Vittorio Cecchi Gori"

XT Post Number King
111,130 Posts
Fiorentina ready to fold? Saturday 20 April, 2002


Relegation may be the least of Fiorentina’s problems as bankruptcy, a fraud trial and more resignations loom on the horizon.

This week 30,000 Viola fans, led by the Mayor of Florence, marched through the city holding flaming torches in protest at club owner Vittorio Cecchi Gori’s refusal to sell.

“This was a message sent out to Cecchi Gori,” said defender Daniele Adani (pictured), “and another demonstration of how much the people love this team."

"It’s such a shame that 12 short months ago we were celebrating the Coppa Italia win.”

“Now the patron must evaluate the situation carefully and look at potential offers to buy him out. I know he would prefer to leave in a better situation than this, but when a buyer comes along he cannot say no.”

So far Cecchi Gori has resisted all calls for him to leave the ailing club and recent developments could even prevent Fiorentina from entering next year’s Serie B tournament.

Clubs must prove their financial stability before being allowed into a season, but with debts still mounting it is possible the Viola could be shunted down another two or three divisions to the amateur League.

Cecchi Gori and former administrator Luciano Luna are under investigation for financial irregularities and money laundering.

This week it was announced a trial and charges had been requested by the Attorney General.

The ex-President ‘borrowed’ £23m from the Viola coffers in order to help out another one of his businesses, FinMaVi. The money has still not been fully returned.

Also this week, Joeri Van den Herik resigned from the Board of Directors. The son of Feyenoord’s President, the Dutchman was brought in as part of a rescue team for the club several weeks ago.

However, as with former President Ugo Poggi and director Attilio Repetti, Van den Herik resigned stating that he had received no guarantees over his position within the club or concrete plans for the future.

In Friday’s Board of Directors meeting another emergency request for cash from the Cecchi Gori funds was lodged.

So far the patron has provided three tenths of the money needed to increase the club’s capital, but the directors asked for the remaining seven tenths by June 30.

Next season salaries will be reduced dramatically and the size of the squad cut down.

The Viola fans provided one piece of good news. The Tifosi are organising a charity match between old Fiorentina stars – including Francesco Toldo, Manuel Rui Costa and Gabriel Batistuta – to raise money for Meyer Children’s Hospital.

1 - 4 of 4 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.