Bankrupt Parma has been relegated to the fourth tier of Italian soccer

On the plus side, Parma still has a soccer club, for the moment. On the other hand, it’s now in Italy’s Serie D.

Who knew, right? Serie D. It’s an actual thing. Logically enough, it’s the Italian fourth tier. But it’s an amateur competition.

That’s some fall for a club that was among the best in Italy and Europe less than 20 years ago. A club that’s still a member of the European Club Association, the trade body for senior European teams. A club that’s just been relegated from Serie A.

But it’s also a club with a financial mess that no one was able to clear up, culminating in a collapse that was a long time coming. The club’s been declared bankrupt, meaning it is not eligible for Serie B. It managed a dismal 19 points from 38 Serie A fixtures, but just finishing the season was something of an achievement, given the depth of its crisis.

Its plight was too much of a curveball for even ex-New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza, who’d been talking about buying them, which would clearly have been awesome and a nailed-on must-watch reality television show.

Now, though, perhaps Parma can rip the whole thing up and start again – with some more solid and sustainable foundations this time. It might be for the best in the long run.