What Australia’s takeover of Calcio Catania could mean for the A-League
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One thing that Italian football has become synonymous with over the years is bankruptcy.
From Chievo Verona in 2021 to football hipster favorite clubs Venezia, Parma and Napoli, all have been victims of financial mismanagement over the past 20 years.
Further down the leagues, another bankrupt club has found new ownership with an Australian group that has links to the A-League.
In the beautiful region of Sicily, Calcio Catania fell to Serie C after being in the Italian top flight in 2006-14.
They were coached by a very young Diego Simeone and had well-known players like Papu Gomez on their books.
In 2021-22 Catania were kicked out of the Serie C season due to bankruptcy and have been on the market to be sold ever since, with several groups showing interest but never being able to secure a deal on the line. .
Earlier this week it was announced that the club had finally been taken over by Melbourne-based Pelligra Group.
It has long been rumored that Ross Pelligra is trying to create a South Australian sports group under one banner.
The Adelaide Giants and Adelaide Lightning baseball team in the WNBL are already under the group’s control, while the pitches and training centers of Netball South Australia and the Adelaide 36ers NBL team will also be redeveloped by the group into works that could see the netball and men’s basketball teams belong to Pelligra.
Calcio Catania are not the first of the group to deal with Australian rules football teams, however.
They were the backers of South Melbourne FC and are the owners-in-waiting of Adelaide United of the A-League.
While the deal for United will be officially announced at the end of the current financial year, the Calcio Catania takeover opens up intriguing proposals not just for Adelaide United but for football in Australia.
Calcio Catania and Adelaide United could develop a mutually beneficial sister club partnership involving talent swaps between the teams. This could give young Australian players a chance to enter the lucrative European market.
It may seem like a pipeline dream at the moment, as Catania tries to move up from Serie D in their quest to become a Serie A club again.
Ross Pelligra has been named president of Calcio Catania and has spent the past week in Sicily, where he met with members of Catania’s ultras as well as senior city officials to outline exactly what the Pelligra group will bring to the club and region.
Pelligra’s Sicilian roots and the company’s exciting plans for the club’s near future appear to have invigorated locals after the turmoil that has engulfed the troubled side of late.
The purchases of Adelaide United and Calcio Catania have shown that the Pelligra Group can make a splash in both football and property.
Although both look like big bets considering each club’s underachievement respectively, it wouldn’t be surprising to see both become very successful.