Due to unclear reasons, Parma had their second attempt at obtaining a UEFA license rejected, with just one more application available before they would be removed from Europa League qualification.
Sky Italia’s Tancredi Palmeri was first to report the miss, and Parma was not included in a UEFA release that listed all Italian clubs that had successfully obtained the proper license.
Thanks to a 2-0 win over Livorno and a late missed penalty by Torino this weekend on the final Serie A matchday, Parma qualified for the European competition via a sixth-place finish in the Italian table.
However, they will not be allowed to compete if they do not obtain a license from UEFA. They have until May 28 to make a final application, which would be reviewed by the High Court of Justice.
Reports out of Italy suggest the disparity could have something to do with a dispute over income tax. The reports indicate there is a disputed amount of $411,000 that is outstanding, but the club does not believe they have to pay it.
The club, in a statement released Wednesday, that they were “extremely confident” that their application would be accepted. However, they’ve now reacted with surprise.
“Parma has learned with surprise the decision of the Appeals Committee to refuse to issue the UEFA license to our club,” Parma said in a statement released after the most recent decision. “Despite the great respect for the work of the Commission, Parma – still absolutely convinced of his own reasons – cannot accept this frustrating decision to deny a result that rewards an entire city and that has been achieved after years of effort and competitive spending. For these reasons, the Parma appeal without delay to the High Court of the National Olympic Committee in the certainty that, in the supreme seat of Sports Justice, will be recognized and fulfilled of their economic and financial policies under the procedure for the licensing of UEFA. “
The UEFA release included the following clubs: Atalanta, Fiorentina, Inter, Juventus, Lazio, Milan, Napoli, Roma, Sampdoria, Torino, Udinese, Verona. Torino could therefore conceivably obtain Parma’s spot in the Europa League if Parma failed to secure a license.
However, the UEFA licensing bylaws do indicate a loophole that would allow Parma to compete without a license, if UEFA grant them an exception. It reads: “UEFA may grant special permission to the club to enter the corresponding UEFA club competition subject to the relevant UEFA club competition regulations. Such an extraordinary application applies only to the specific club and for the season in question.”
That does, however, seem unlikely, considering a UEFA license only lasts one season anyways, and if they were to grant an exception you’d think it would lead them to just grant the license.
An interesting note about Parma as well, and maybe something that could be hindering their chances at getting a UEFA license, would be their insane squad size.
According to Wikipedia (which, admittedly, is a horrible trio of words to put together in a sentence, but digging deeper shows surprising accuracy), Parma’s total squad size is in the 220 range, not including their academy. That includes their current first-team squad, players on loan, and players on other teams which Parma co-owns.