Parma's latest defeat - a 1-0 loss to Cagliari - dropped them from sixth to ninth place and dealt a blow to their hopes of qualifying for the competition.

Roberto Donadoni's men, who are only one point behind sixth-placed Torino in the final Europa League spot, are still in contention to qualify for Europe's second-tier club competition.

But Ghirardi believes unseen forces are working against their bid.

"We got to fifth in the table and then we had two sendings-off and a really dubious penalty against us on Sunday," said Ghirardi.

"I know I will be taken to task for saying this, but I can't deny what I've seen with my own eyes."

He added: "I've heard rumours suggesting the club isn't interested in qualifying for Europe and that infuriates me.

"Qualifying for Europe has been one of my dreams since I took over the club. I knew this club in its European heyday and it's my objective to take it back there."

Parma were beaten at Cagliari last weekend due to a Mauricio Pinilla spot-kick, awarded after a handball in the Parma box. On 53 minutes Parma were reduced to 10 men when Felipe saw red for striking Luca Rossettini in the face.

A week earlier, meanwhile, Parma finished a 2-0 defeat at home to Inter with 10 men after Gabriel Paletta was sent off at the start of the second half.

Parma twice won the Europe League's predecessor, the UEFA Cup, under Nevio Scala in 1995 and with Alberto Malesani as coach 1999.

Serie A normally awards two Europa League qualifying places, to the teams who finish fourth and fifth in the table, while a third spot is offered to the winner of the Italian Cup.

But since Napoli and Fiorentina -- who contend the Cup final on Saturday -- are already assured of places in the Champions League and Europa League respectively, the team who finishes sixth in Serie A this season will be awarded a Europa League spot.