Financially-strapped Italian soccer club fields seven players in 20-0 loss

A low-level Italian soccer club suffered a brutal 20-0 loss Sunday as the financially struggling team fielded only seven players - including six teenagers - to avoid being disqualified from the league.

Pro Piacenza, of third-tier Serie C, was already down 16-0 to league rival Cuneo by half-time before allowing in four more goals, BBC Sport reported. Cuneo’s Hicham Kanis scored six goals and Edoardo Defendi scored five.

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It was Pro Piacenza’s first match since postponing its last three because of financial troubles. The team hadn’t paid their team members since August, causing much of their first team to quit, according to BBC Sport. The club was also forced to make 18-year-old Nicola Cirigliano a player-manager for the match.

The result of Sunday’s match was an “insult to the sport,” Italian Football Federation President Gabriele Gravina said afterward.

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“In this surreal situation, the [Italian Football Federation] had a duty to enforce all the rules,” he said. “Our responsibility is to protect the passion of the fans, healthy entrepreneurs and the credibility of our championships. The one we unfortunately witnessed will be the last farce.”