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Palermo still waiting to see where it will play next season

Inter Milan’s Radja Nainggolan, right, challenges for the ball with Chievo’s Mattia Bani during a Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and Chievo, at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Monday, May 13, 2019. (Luca Bruno / Associated Press)
Inter Milan’s Radja Nainggolan, right, challenges for the ball with Chievo’s Mattia Bani during a Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and Chievo, at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Monday, May 13, 2019. (Luca Bruno / Associated Press)
By Daniella Matar Associated Press

MILAN – It’s not quite as easy as ABC for Italian soccer club Palermo.

With the regular season over and the promotion playoffs looming, Palermo is waiting to see if it will compete for a spot in Serie A, end up staying in Serie B, or even get relegated to Serie C.

The club, the oldest in Sicily, was relegated to Serie C by the Italian soccer federation for financial irregularities, but it has appealed that sanction. If the team is successful in court, Palermo could end up in the playoffs vying for a spot in the top division after finishing third in Serie B this season.

“As the players of Palermo Calcio we claim the right to be able to win on the field, while waiting at least for the ruling of the Federal Court of Appeal,” Palermo’s players said this week in a statement. “At that point we will accept the verdict whatever it is. But until then we will make our voice heard in every suitable and possible place because we have been robbed of our dignity. They have taken away from us the right to sweat for a goal.”

Palermo had hoped the playoffs, which start Friday, would be delayed until the appeals were decided, especially because the team’s place in the standings affects other clubs at both ends. But there is no date yet to decide Palermo’s fate.

With Palermo in third place, Foggia, Padova and Carpi would be automatically relegated as the bottom three, with Salernitana playing a survival playoff against Venezia. With Palermo last, eighth-place Perugia would play for a spot in Serie A.

The governing body of Serie B decided, however, that Foggia would be relegated regardless of Palermo’s placement, scrapping a possible playoff against Salernitana, while Perugia was still tapped to replace Palermo in the promotion playoffs.

But Foggia is also still hoping for a late reprieve. At the beginning of the season, Foggia was deducted 15 points for financial irregularities. That was reduced to six during the season and it hopes to have it further reduced by the Italian Olympic Committee on Friday.

Even a one-point reduction in the sentence would see Foggia move ahead of Salernitana in the standings.

The current chaos mirrors what happened at the beginning of the season.

In August, Serie B was reduced from 22 to 19 clubs following the bankruptcies of Avellino, Bari and Cesena.

Six clubs, including the four relegated at the end of previous season, all argued for a place in the second division. None of them were successful.

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