After 9th coaching change of season, Palermo seeks stability

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PALERMO, Sicily (AP) — After making his ninth coaching change of the season, Palermo's owner Maurizio Zamparini promised he'll keep Davide Ballardini in charge whether or not the Sicilian club avoids relegation.

Walter Novellino was fired following Sunday's 3-0 loss to Lazio, which left Palermo third from the bottom ahead of a visit to Serie A leader Juventus.

Ballardini was rehired for his second stint in charge this season and third overall. He previously coached Palermo in 2008-09 and from Nov. 10 to Jan. 11 this season.

"For the first time it's in the contract that he'll stay if we stay up. And he's prepared to remain even if we go down to Serie B, which is fine with me," Zamparini said Tuesday. "I'll fight over a lot of things with him but not football."

Counting caretakers, Palermo has had seven different coaches this season: Giuseppe Iachini (twice), Ballardini (twice), Fabio Viviani, Guillermo Schelotto, Giovanni Bosi, Giovanni Tedesco and Novellino.

Zamparini has made almost 60 coaching changes in 29 years as a club owner, first at Venezia and then at Palermo.

Novellino had taken over last month and lasted only four matches — a draw and three losses.

Also Tuesday, Palermo was ordered to play its next home match April 20 against Atalanta behind closed doors due to fan violence. Supporters threw fireworks and halted the match against Lazio in each half.

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