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Napoli declared bankrupt says ANSA

MILAN, Italy (Reuters) -- Debt-ridden former Italian champions Napoli have been declared bankrupt, news agency ANSA reported on Monday.

Napoli, refused a license to play in Serie B because of debts reported to be around 70 million euros ($84.47m, will officially find out their fate on Tuesday.

"We cannot announce the contents of the decision until the parties have been informed," Naples bankruptcy court president Vito Frallicciardi told reporters.

But ANSA cited court sources saying they had ruled Napoli bankrupt and that officials had already been nominated to handle relations with creditors.

Napoli were Italian champions in 1987 and 1990 when they were inspired by Argentine Diego Maradona but they have struggled in recent seasons near the foot of Serie B.

Bankruptcy would not mean the end of professional football in Naples, however, as a new Italian soccer regulation allows a city whose team has collapsed to retain a 'franchise' under a new company.

Four companies have already been set up to compete for the franchise with the city council to decide on who gets the chance.

In such a scenario the new club would likely start in the third division, Serie C1.

Perugia president Luciano Gaucci and Siena chief Paolo De Luca have both set up companies hoping to launch the new Naples club.

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