Three of the top clubs in Italy have banded together to save one-time Serie A giants AC Fiorentina from bankruptcy.
An alliance of Milan AC, Internazionale FC and Juventus FC, lead by Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani, agreed yesterday on a unique deal to help save relegated Fiorentina from financial oblivion.
Fiorentina had been faced with the prospect of paying off a €7,746,000 debt before 30 June or facing bankruptcy proceedings, but in an unprecedented deal, the three Serie A giants have agreed to give the ailing club €7.8m in exchange for two of the club's promising youngsters.
Juventus take Moretti
Juventus have invested €2.6m in exchange for 21-year-old left-sided defender Emiliano Moretti, although he will continue to play for Fiorentina on loan until the end of the 2002/03 season.
Ceccarelli bound for Milan
Meanwhile, Milan and their neighbours Inter have paid a joint fee of €5.2m for 19-year-old right-sided defender Luca Ceccarelli who will also remain at the Artemio Franchi stadium until the end of next season, although it is not yet clear which of the two Milan clubs he will then join.
This unprecedented financial aid between clubs sets a precedent for what may come to be a more common practice among Italian teams with many of them going through severe financial difficulties at the moment.
The 30 June was the deadline to close the books for the 2001/02 season, and prior to this deadline only eleven of the Serie A clubs of the past season could present solid finances in line with the current regulations.
For Fiorentina, as well as S.S. Lazio, AS Roma, Brescia Calcio, US Lecce, Piacenza FC and Hellas-Verona FC the annual accounts still showed too high a deficit, even though the Florence club were clearly in the most desperate situation.
For the others, obtaining a licence for the new season should represent more of a formality than a real problem. With the financial aid obtained from the three big northern clubs, the sky over Florence now looks a bit brighter.
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