Maurizio Zamparini has confirmed that he is stepping down from his role as Palermo president. The outspoken businessman has frequently threatened to quit over refereeing decisions or general dissatisfaction with the direction his club is heading, but this time the president is really going. Within 15 days, the incoming Anglo-American ownership team will name a new president to take up the post vacated by Zamparini.
“President Maurizio Zamparini announces that he has handed in his resignation as president of Palermo Calcio,” a club statement read. “The new president will be named in the next 15 days, and will hold a press conference in Palermo. The new president is a member and representative of an Anglo-American investment fund, who are contractually obliged to invest in the Gruppo Zamparini’s projects – first among which is investment in Palermo Calcio and in Palermo’s sports facilities, i.e. the stadium and the training ground. The investors’ objective will be to take the club back to the position that the city deserves – into Europe – within 3-5 years.”
Zamparini took over Palermo in 2002 when he bought the club from Franco Sensi – the legendary former Roma president – and swiftly took the club back into Serie A as champions in 2003/04. The club qualified for the UEFA Cup in both 2005/06 and 2006/07, before missing out on Champions League football by two points in 2009/10. The last few years have been tougher on the Sicilian club though, including relegation in 2012/13, and Zamparini’s notorious hiring and firing of coaches (earning him the moniker mangia allenatori) has failed to work this season as the club face the drop once again.
The president was close to selling the club earlier this season to a Chinese group, but after their interest dissipated Zamparini turned to the Anglo-American investment fund instead. Details on exactly who the new owners are haven’t yet been made clear by Zamparini or Palermo. “I won’t tell you who they are or what their names are,” Zamparini said on Monday morning, prior to the announcement of his resignation.
While the mystery new president will be announced within the next fortnight, Serie A hasn’t seen the last of Zamparini quite yet as he confirmed he would retain a short-term advisory role. “I’m not an honorary president, nor do I want to be. I will be around at the outset to help them and show them how things work, but I won’t be Palermo’s honorary president.”