Credit crunch reaches Roma

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It is not only English clubs that could be feeling the pinch as the worldwide credit crunch starts to bite.

AS Roma are reportedly heading for financial ruin unless they can start paying back some of the massive debt owned to the Unicredit Bank, which itself is short of a euro or two.

The Sensi family, who own the capital club, have already failed to come up with 130million euro to cover their first repayment of a loan that is something in the region of 365m.

Unicredit have now set an ultimatum of December to make the payment so Christmas presents will be in short supply around the Sensi household.

Rosella Sensi heads up the family following the death of papa Franco last month and through their oil company, Italpetroli, will have to start off-loading some of their assets pronto.

Rosella Sensi celebrates 2008 Italian Cup success 

They could make the payment if they sell off land and an oil storage facility outside Roma, which is worth 150m euro although the way the markets are dropping that figure may have to be revised downwards.

An outright sale is also problematic. Valued at 283m euro when the likes of American billionaire George Soros was interested acquiring the Giallorossi earlier this year, there seems little chance of anyone meeting that figure now.

Deny, deny and deny again has been the Sensi response to their inability to pay up and in a statement, Italpetroli and AS Roma claimed that there was no pressure to get on with paying up, which in these times of financial expediency seems quite a refreshing attitude by a bank.

On the other hand, Serie B looks to have signed its own winding up order by agreeing - out of the blue - to accept Serie A’s 65m euro offer plus a mere 7m from television rights to keep the second tier up and running.

A dire warning that the top flight would breakaway did the trick although the big boys will throw in a further 2m euro each, it will not be enough to save some of the outfits in the lower division.

Triestina and Avellino have already been penalised points for something called “financial irregularities” in their accounting while, reportedly, Avellino and Ascoli - not so long ago a Serie A side - cannot afford to pay their players’ salaries.

Money or no money, life goes on in its merry way – for some that is. 

Roberto Borgonovo has to live the best that he can with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Borgonovo gets greeted by Ronaldinho at charity match

Paralysed and communicating through eye movements and with the help of a computer-generated “written voice,” the former AC Milan and Fiorentina striker is putting all his efforts into raising funds for research into finding a cure for the nerve-wasting condition.

The great and good of Milan and Fiorentina gathered at the Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence on Wednesday evening for a charity game – and to pay their respects to the popular 44-year-old. 

Roberto Baggio was there, but so worn out are his knees now that the legend was unable to take part in the All-Star game and instead tucked away a penalty against former Torino and Parma goalkeeper Luca Bucci before kick-off.

He then wheeled Borgonovo around the stadium, and rightly so there wasn’t a dry eye in the 30,000-plus crowd - a footballing legend and a real hero together.

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