Serie C’s bottom side Pro Piacenza have been excluded from the division, after the club’s dire state of affairs culminated in a 20-0 defeat to mid-table side Cuneo on Sunday.
They had previously registered just eight points from 20 matches in Italy’s third tier, as a failure to pay wages for over a year led to the playing and coaching staff ripping up their contracts earlier in the season.
They had been forced to forfeit the last three league matches, and a fourth would have resulted in automatic exclusion from the league.
In an effort to salvage the situation, the club were able to cobble together the bare minimum of seven players – six teenagers and a member of staff – to take to the field against professionals Cuneo, who would score 16 first half goals and a further four in the second period.
Despite meeting the minimum requirements to field a side, their efforts were in vain, as Football Italia report that they have been kicked out of the league.
League president Francesco Ghirelli said he was ‘horrified’ by the incident, adding that it falls in gross violation of what the sport should be about.
“This was an incredible violation of the foundations of sporting principles,” he said on Radio Rai, via an earlier report on Football Italia.
Italian Serie C side Pro Piacenza are playing with just seven players this afternoon, all of whom are teenagers, to avoid being kicked out of the league.
Their player/manager is the 19-year-old captain.
They’re currently 16-0 down at half-time against Cuneo. pic.twitter.com/2oVp87EHes
— bet365 (@bet365) February 17, 2019
“I am also horrified that the parents of those kids allowed them to go out there and play just to tell their friends that they’d made their debuts in professional football.”