17.02.2019 18:48 h

Surreal farce: Italian third division side beaten 20-0

Italian Football Federation president Gabriele Gravina slammed third-tier Pro Piacenza's 20-0 defeat by Cuneo on Sunday as an "insult to sport" after the losing side fielded just seven players.

Financially troubled Pro Piacenza have been unable to pay their players and staff, who have been on strike for several weeks.

Before Sunday's game at Cuneo in Piedmont, northern Italy, bottom club Pro Piacenza had already forfeited three matches and a fourth would have seen them kicked out of Serie C.

So they took to the pitch with seven players, all teenagers born between 2000 and 2002. An eighth player could not initially start having forgotten his identity papers, and came on after an hour.

One of the two players born in 2000 was named on the match sheet as the coach.

The score was already 10-0 after 25 minutes, with midtable Cuneo easing up in the second half but still adding five more to bring their tally to 20 goals -- surpassing the 18 they had scored in their previous 24 games.

"What happened in Cuneo is an insult to sport and its founding principles," said FIGC president Gravina.

"In this surreal situation, the FIGC had a duty to enforce all the rules, our responsibility is to protect the passion of the fans, healthy entrepreneurs and the credibility of our championships: the one we unfortunately witnessed will be the last farce."

The Italian third division, which is made up of 20 teams, is professional in Italy, but many of the clubs have financial problems.

Last week Matera were kicked out of the league after forfeiting a fourth match with their players on strike since December, having not been paid since September.