Just two years after winning the 2015-16 CEV Champions League, it is safe to say Pomi Casalmaggiore’s 2017-18 Serie A1 season is not going well. Midway through the season, it boasts a 2-9 record, good enough for second-to-last place in the standings. It has already parted ways with one coach, respected Marcello Abbondaza, and one of its biggest promises of the season, Chinese player Zeng Chunlei.
Now, after yet another defeat, this time against Modena 3-1 (25-20, 23-25, 25-17, 25-10), team President Massimo Botturi decided upon a very controversial measure: suspend the team’s salaries. Here is what he had to say, according to the team’s official website:
Le parole del presidente Massimo Boselli Botturi "Penso che sia il momento per prendere drastiche decisioni"#ForzaPomì #ViVogliamoPomì #SamsungAmaVolley Leggi…https://t.co/6fkvFAYgAv pic.twitter.com/Y26wpLJxVo
— Pomì VBC Official (@PomiVBC) December 17, 2017
“I apologize to sponsors and fans for yet another unseemly show that this team has offered. The results of this first round are clear and reveal an attitude that does not reflect the history of this team, the significant investments from sponsors, and the passion and the warmth of our fans. Today we have witnessed the worst match of this season, unfortunately full of bland performances without heart and without character. I think it’s time to make drastic decisions, starting by communicating team captain that salaries will be blocked until team performance is not disrespectful to the economic commitment sustained by this team. The two days of rest have been suspended.”
It was also said that general managers will hold individual conversations with all of its players. Some are likely to be fired. Casalmaggiore has a very competent roster, with international level players such as Jovana Stevanovic, Lo Bianco, Sarah Pavan, and Brayelin Martinez. Its current performance is indeed very inexplicable, but does Botturi have legal power to act on his statement to block the players’ salary? They will soon find out.