Catania FC

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Full nameCatania
Football Club s.r.l.[1][2]
Nickname(s)I Rossazzurri (The Red and Blues)
Gli Elefanti (The Elephants)
Gli Etnei (The Etneans)
Founded1929; 95 years ago (1929)
GroundStadio Angelo Massimino,
Catania, Italy
OwnerElefante 1946 Pty Ltd (Pelligra Group)
ChairmanRoss Pelligra
CoachMichele Zeoli
LeagueSerie C Group C
2023–24Serie C Group C, 13th of 20
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Catania Football Club, commonly known as Catania, is an Italian football club based in the city of Catania, Sicily, that plays in Serie C.

Originally founded in 1908 as Associazione Sportiva pro Educazione Fisica, the club boasts 17 appearances in the top flight, reaching eighth place in Serie A on four occasions: during the early 1960s and again in 2012–13.[clarification needed] It is the 12th most popular team in Italy, with around 600,000 fans.[4] The club also went on a number of dissolutions and refoundations, the last happening in 2022.


Origins (1901–1908)[edit]

Crews of English cargo ships brought football to Sicily. Specifically, the earliest Catania team can be traced to a match that took place on 2 May 1901 at San Raineri di Messina against Messina Football Club; the team was Royal Yacht Catania, an English ship with a local Catanian crew.[5]

Earliest club photograph as Pro Patria in 1908

The ship workers' team was a pastime, and Catania's first professional football club was founded on 19 June 1908 by Italian film director Gaetano Ventimiglia and Francesco Sturzo d'Aldobrando, who founded the club under the name A.S. Educazione Fisica Pro Patria. Early on, they would play against sailors visiting the port of Catania, foreign ships in particular. Though their first ever match was against the Italian battleship Regina Margherita, the game ended in a 1–1 draw and the Catania line-up that day consisted of Vassallo, Gismondo, Bianchi, Messina, Slaiter, Caccamo, Stellario, Binning, Cocuzza, Ventimiglia and Pappalardo. Just two years later, the club was renamed to Unione Sportiva Catanese.[6]

Foundation (1908–1943)[edit]

In northern Italy, football was more organised and clubs in the area competed in the early Italian Football Championships, while the southern clubs competed in competitions such as the Lipton, Sant' Agata, and Agordad cups. US Catanese survived World War I, and after that, played in the local Coppa Federale Siciliana. Seven seasons later, in 1927, they were promoted to the Campionato Catanese, later winning in the 1928–29 season. As they gained promotion, the team entered the Second Division, but the fascist reform of Italian football dictated the disbandment of Catanese and the establishment of Società Sportiva Catania on 27 June 1929.[7] The new club first competed in Serie B in the 1934–35 season,[8] where they finished fourth; that year, Genoa won the Serie B title.

Catania played in the league for three seasons during this period before ultimately being relegated. Down in Serie C, Catania was crowned the champion in the 1938–39 season, finishing above Sicilian rivals Siracusa and Messina, who came in second and third place respectively. The club finished bottom of the league in Serie B and won only three games that season. The club's name was briefly changed to Associazione Calcio Fascista Catania during the 1942–43 season in Serie C, which ended prematurely due to World War II.

Rebirth (1945–1949)[edit]

Calcio Catania during 1946

After World War II ended, a local competition was organised, the Campionato Siciliano. At the end of that season, a local team named Elefante Catania[9] was merged into the club. The merged club kept the Catanese name and competed in Serie C during the 1945–46 season, but finished last. In the same league that season, a team called Virtus Catania competed with them, finishing eighth.[10]

At the end of the season, Catanese and Virtus merged to form Club Calcio Catania, with the club's first president as Santi Manganaro-Passanisi, who had previously been president of Catanese. They were promoted to Serie C, where they spent three seasons. After a duel with Reggina for first place in the league, Catania gained a promotion to Serie B for the 1948–49 season.

Golden years (1953–1965)[edit]

The late 1950s–1960s are considered the golden years for the Catanian club, as they managed to achieve a promotion to Serie A on two occasions during this time. Their first promotion from Serie B came when, during the 1953–54 season, they beat Cagliari and Lombardy side Pro Patria and were crowned champions of the division. Their first season in Serie A saw the club achieve a respectable 12th-place finish, but the club was forcibly relegated due to financial scandals, as were Udinese Calcio.

Catania during their second spell in Serie A, in the 1960s

Under the management of Carmelo Di Bella, who had played for the club in the late 1930s, Catania gained promotion from Serie B in the 1959–60 season. Catania had lost their final game 4–2 to Brescia and needed Parma to get a good result against Triestina for the Sicilian club to secure promotion. That is exactly what happened, and Catania had gained a promotion.

Catania returned into Serie A for the 1960–61 season to begin what would be a six-year stay in the league. The newly promoted club finished in eighth above top Italian clubs such as Lazio and Napoli. This season produced several notable wins; they beat Napoli and Bologna twice, Sampdoria 3–0 at home, and most notably, Milan 4–3 in Sicily. Additionally, on the final day of the season, they beat Internazionale 2–0, with goals from Castellazzi and Calvanese. Inter lost the closely contested title that year to Juventus.

Four years later, in 1965, Catania would also finish eighth in the league, this time above Roma and Sicilian rivals Messina. Many of the club's most notable stars played around this time, such as midfielders Alvaro Biagini and the Brazilian Chinesinho, along with wingers Carlo Facchin and Giancarlo Danova in the side. Catania won against Juventus (2–0), Fiorentina (2–0), and Lazio (1–0).

Decline (1966–1984)[edit]

After Catania's relegation in 1966, Carmelo Di Bella left and the club stayed in Serie B, later playing with Palermo in the Sicilian derby before the Palermitan club was promoted. Catania followed in 1969–70 with a third-place finish, gaining a promotion. They were relegated from Serie A after one season. In that season, they had a 3–1 win against Lazio and a draw at home against Milan. Catania only scored 18 goals altogether in 30 games.

In 1973–74, they were relegated down to Serie C, but were able to get a promotion to Serie B by winning as champions. A similar situation occurred in 1976–77, where they were relegated down to Serie C. They finished second, and later third, before finally being crowned champions of what was now known as Serie C1 in 1979–80.

After three short seasons, Catania was promoted after finishing in third place, behind Milan and Lazio, into Serie A. They played the 1983–84 season in Italy's top league, only winning once (which came against Pisa) with 12 points.

Further decline and revival (1985–2006)[edit]

The decline of Catania started after their last relegation to Serie B. The team was no longer able to reach the top division of Italian football, and instead continued to decline, remaining in Serie C1 for the latter part of the 1980s. In 1993, the team's participation for the year was cancelled by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) due to financial irregularities.

After a court session, magistrates declared the FIGC's decision as invalid, thus forcing it to include Catania back into the footballing fold for the year. Catania was included in the Sicilian Eccellenza (the sixth tier of Italian football). In the meantime, another Sicilian football team, Atletico Leonzio, from Lentini (in the Province of Syracuse), had been relocated in the city and renamed Atletico Catania. Despite all of this, the real Catania was able to promote back to Serie C in a short amount of time, later back to Serie B in 2002.

In 2003, Catania was at the centre of a controversy that led to the enlargement of Serie B from 20 to 24 teams, known as Caso Catania. The club claimed that Siena fielded an ineligible player in a 1–1 tie, a result which saw Catania relegated, whereas the two extra points from a victory would have kept them safe. They were awarded a 2–0 victory before the result was reverted because the guilty player was a substitute which did not play the match; Catania appealed to the judges of the Autonomous Region of Sicily, who evaluated the victory. In August, the FIGC decided to let Catania, along with Genoa and Salernitana, stay in Serie B; the newly reborn Fiorentina was also added for the 2003–04 season. The ruling led to protests and boycotts by the other Serie B clubs that delayed the start of the season, until the intervention of the Italian government.

The league was reduced to 22 teams for 2004–05, while at the same time, Serie A expanded from 18 to 20 teams. During the start of that season, Antonino Pulvirenti, chairman of the flight company Windjet and owner of Sicilian Serie C1 team Acireale, bought the club. Catania's new ownership revived the team, and in 2005–06, Catania ended in second place, earning a promotion to Serie A.

Catania against Atalanta in Serie A in 2006

Return to Serie A (2006–2013)[edit]

The 2006–07 season had Catania in Serie A for its first appearance in 22 years. In their first year back, their home form saw them peak as high as fourth place after 20 games.

Their return season changed drastically on 2 February 2007, due to the 2007 Catania football violence incident. It happened during the Sicilian derby with Palermo, where policeman Filippo Raciti was killed during football-related violence caused by Catania ultras outside the Stadio Angelo Massimino.[11] The event led FIGC Commissioner Luca Pancalli to cancel all football-related events in the country for a period of time, including league and national team matches. Catania chairman and owner Antonino Pulvirenti announced his willingness to leave the football world, stating it was not possible to go on producing football in Catania.

After the Italian football league reopened, Catania continued on. They failed to win for 12 games in a row before beating Udinese 1–0 in late April 2007, where they eventually finished 13th.[12]

The following season, with manager Pasquale Marino leaving for Udinese and Silvio Baldini taking charge of the team, proved to be much harder. In the Coppa Italia, Catania reached to the semi-finals, then lost to A.S. Roma. Subsequently, Baldini resigned from his post on 31 March 2008, being replaced by Walter Zenga. Despite this, Zenga managed to lead the rossazzurri off the relegation zone in a heated final week game, a 1–1 home tie to Roma, with an equaliser goal scored by Jorge Martínez in the 85th minute. Zenga was successively confirmed in charge of the team for the upcoming 2008–09 season.

On 5 June 2009, Zenga left Catania to be the manager at arch-rival football club Palermo. He was replaced by Gianluca Atzori, with one year of experience at Lega Pro Prima Divisione team Ravenna. Atzori was noted for using an attacking 4–3–3 formation at Ravenna and was expected to continue a similar approach with the Elefanti.

On 8 December 2009, Siniša Mihajlović was appointed new head coach of Catania, taking over Atzori. He signed a contract until June 2011, with the Elefanti. Arriving at the club that was dead last in the Serie A standings, Mihajlović debuted with a loss against Livorno. The following week, his team beat Juventus away in Turin with a 2–1 scoreline. After Mihajlović's departure to Fiorentina, Catania appointed Marco Giampaolo as new head coach for the 2010–11 season. In January 2011, Catania decided to remove Giampaolo from his position due to poor results and replace him with former Argentine football player Diego Simeone, who managed to guide the Sicilians to safety before to part company by the end of the season, after only four months in charge of the team. Later, Catania appointed 37-year-old Vincenzo Montella to replace Simeone at his second managerial experience after having served as caretaker at Roma during the final part of the 2010–11 season.

Rolando Maran managed the team in the 2012–13 season, who guided Catania to a record-breaking season where they accrued 56 points from 38 Serie A matches. The season also saw Catania take a record number of home wins in one season, its record number of victories overall in a single top flight campaign, as well as its record points total in Serie A for the fifth consecutive season. They finished ahead of Internazionale at the conclusion of the season and were just five points away from competing in the UEFA Europa League.

Second decline and 2022 bankruptcy (2013–2022)[edit]

After being relegated from Serie A after the 2013–14 season, Catania was again relegated to the Lega Pro and was deducted by nine points after. During the 2014–15 season, head coach and owner Antonio Pulvirenti admitted to fixing five matches.[13][14]

The club announced that Sport Investment Group Italia S.p.A. (S.I.G.I.) acquired 95.4% of the club's assets on Friday, 24 July 2020.[15] On 16 January 2021, a preliminary purchase agreement was signed, with which a group of investors represented by the American lawyer Joe Tacopina undertook to purchase all shares from SIGI.[16] The takeover never materialized, and on 22 December 2021, the club was declared insolvent and entered administration. Following three auctions and a takeover offer by entrepreneur Benedetto Mancini, the club's provisional exercise by the Tribunal of Catania effectively ended on 9 April 2022, leading to its immediate exclusion from the 2021–22 Serie C season.[17] Soon after, the Italian Football Federation formalised the club's exclusion from the Italian professional ranks, and released all of the club's players and non-playing staff.[18]

2022 refoundation (2022–present)[edit]

In June 2022, Australian development industry entrepreneur Ross Pelligra, whose mother was born in Catania, was assigned by the city the right to register a new club in the Italian Serie D, in compliance with Article 52 of N.O.I.F. He promised to invest economical resources, with the main goal to bring back Catania in Serie A, additionally showing interest in acquiring the Torre Del Grifo training center, built during the Pulvirenti era.[19]

Club Logo in the 2022–2023 season

The new club was renamed to Catania Società Sportiva Dilettantistica, with Ross Pelligra as president and Vincenzo Grella as vice-president, was subsequently admitted to the 2022–23 Serie D. Catania then went onto finish first in Group I in Serie D and obtain automatic promotion back into Serie C for the 2023–2024 season.


Current squad[edit]

As of 1 March 2024

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK Latvia LVA Klāvs Bethers
2 DF Argentina ARG Marcos Curado
3 DF Albania ALB Kevin Haveri (on loan from Torino)
5 DF Italy ITA Francesco Rapisarda
6 MF Albania ALB Emanuele Ndoj
7 MF Colombia COL Andrés Tello
8 MF Italy ITA Stefano Sturaro
9 FW Italy ITA Rocco Costantino
10 FW Italy ITA Samuel Di Carmine
11 DF Italy ITA Antonio Mazzotta
13 DF Italy ITA Devid Eugene Bouah
14 DF Croatia CRO Ivan Kontek
15 DF Italy ITA Tommaso Silvestri
16 MF Italy ITA Alessandro Quaini
No. Pos. Nation Player
19 MF Italy ITA Diego Peralta
22 GK Italy ITA Jacopo Furlan
23 MF Ghana GHA Nana Welbeck
27 DF Italy ITA Alessio Castellini
28 DF Italy ITA Alessandro Celli
30 FW Italy ITA Emanuele Cicerelli
31 FW Italy ITA Marco Chiarella
32 FW Italy ITA Cosimo Chiricò
33 MF Italy ITA Roberto Zammarini
46 DF Italy ITA Salvatore Monaco
77 FW Italy ITA Davide Marsura
90 FW Italy ITA Pietro Cianci
95 GK Italy ITA Marco Albertoni

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
DF Italy ITA Mattia Maffei (at Fiorenzuola until 30 June 2024)
MF Italy ITA Riccardo Ladinetti (at Taranto until 30 June 2024)
MF Italy ITA Niccolò Zanellato (at Crotone until 30 June 2024)
No. Pos. Nation Player
FW Serbia SRB Miloš Bočić (at Fiorenzuola until 30 June 2024)
FW Italy ITA Giuseppe De Luca (at Pergolettese until 30 June 2024)
FW Australia AUS Gabriel Popovic (at Fiorenzuola until 30 June 2024)

Presidential history[edit]

Catania had several presidents over time, some of which have been owners or honorary presidents, below is a list of them since 1946:

Name Years
Santi Passanisi Manganaro 1946–48
Lorenzo Fazio 1948–51
Arturo Michisanti 1951–54
Giuseppe Rizzo 1954–56
Agatino Pesce
Michele Giuffrida
Ignazio Marcoccio 1959–69
Angelo Massimino 1969–73
Salvatore Coco 1973–74
Name Years
Angelo Massimino 1974–87
Angelo Attaguile 1987–91
Salvatore Massimino 1991–92
Angelo Massimino 1992–96
Grazia Codiglione 1996–00
Riccardo Gaucci 2000–04
Antonino Pulvirenti 2004–15
vacant office 2015–22
Ross Pelligra 2022–present

Managerial history[edit]

Catania had many managers and trainers over time. In some seasons, more than one manager was in charge. Below is a chronological list of them since 1946:[20]

Name Years
Giovanni Degni 1946–48
Nicolò Nicolosi 1948
Miroslav Banas 1948–49
Mario Magnozzi 1949–50
Stanislav Klein 1950
Lajos Politzer 1950–51
Nereo Marini 1951–52
Rodolfo Brondi 1952
Giulio Cappelli 1952–53
Fioravante Baldi 1953
Piero Andreoli 1953–56
Matteo Poggi 1956–57
Riccardo Carapellese 1957
Nicolò Nicolosi 1958
Francesco Capocasale 1958
Blagoje Marjanović 1958–59
Carmelo Di Bella 1959–66
Luigi Valsecchi 1966
Dino Ballacci 1966–67
Luigi Valsecchi 1968
Egizio Rubino 1968–71
Salvador Calvanese
Luigi Valsecchi
Carmelo Di Bella 1972–73
Luigi Valsecchi 1973
Guido Mazzetti 1974
Adelmo Prenna 1974
Gennaro Rambone 1974–75
Egizio Rubino 1975–76
Guido Mazzetti 1976
Carmelo Di Bella 1976–77
Luigi Valsecchi 1977
Carlo Matteucci 1977–78
Guido Mazzetti 1978
Adelmo Capelli 1978–79
Gennaro Rambone 1979–80
Lino De Petrillo 1980–81
Guido Mazzetti 1981
Giorgio Michelotti 1981–82
Salvo Bianchetti 1982
Guido Mazzetti 1982
Gianni Di Marzio 1982–84
Giovan Battista Fabbri 1984
Antonio Renna 1984–85
Gennaro Rambone 1985
Salvo Bianchetti 1985–86
Antonio Colomban 1986
Gennaro Rambone 1986–87
Bruno Pace 1987
Osvaldo Jaconi 1987
Pietro Santin 1987–88
Bruno Pace 1988–89
Carmelo Russo 1989–90
Angelo Benedicto Sormani 1990–91
Giuseppe Caramanno 1991–92
Franco Vannini 1992
Name Years
Salvo Bianchetti 1992–93
Franco Indelicato 1993–94
Lorenzo Barlassina 1994
Pier Giuseppe Mosti 1994–95
Angelo Busetta 1995
Lamberto Leonardi 1995
Aldo Cerantola 1995–96
Mario Russo 1996
Angelo Busetta 1996–97
Giovanni Mei 1997–98
Franco Gagliardi 1998
Piero Cucchi 1998–99
Giovanni Simonelli 1999 – 30 Jun 2000
Ivo Iaconi 1 Jul 2000 – 30 Sep 2000
Vincenzo Guerini 15 Oct 2000 – 5 Dec 2000
Aldo Ammazzalorso 23 Jun 2001 – 18 Dec 2001
Pietro Vierchowod 2001
Francesco Graziani
Maurizio Pellegrino
Osvaldo Jaconi 1 Jul 2002 – 31 Dec 2002
Maurizio Pellegrino 20 May 2002 – 18 Nov 2003
John Toshack 2002–03
Edoardo Reja 29 Jan 2003 – 6 Apr 2003
Vincenzo Guerini 6 Apr 2003 – 30 Jun 2003
Gabriele Matricciani
Stefano Colantuono
1 Jul 2003 – 30 Jun 2004
Maurizio Costantini 2004–05
Nedo Sonetti 2005
Pasquale Marino 1 Jul 2005 – 4 Jun 2007
Silvio Baldini 1 Jul 2007 – 31 Mar 2008
Walter Zenga 1 Apr 2008 – 30 Jun 2009
Gianluca Atzori 1 Jul 2009 – 7 Dec 2009
Siniša Mihajlović 8 Dec 2009 – 24 May 2010
Marco Giampaolo 30 May 2010 – 18 Jan 2011
Diego Simeone 19 Jan 2011 – 1 Jun 2011
Vincenzo Montella 9 Jun 2011 – 5 Jun 2012
Rolando Maran 11 Jun 2012 – 20 Oct 2013
Luigi De Canio 20 Oct 2013 – 16 Jan 2014
Rolando Maran 16 Jan 2014 – 7 Apr 2014
Maurizio Pellegrino 2014
Giuseppe Sannino 2014
Maurizio Pellegrino 2014–15
Dario Marcolin 2015
Giuseppe Pancaro 2015–16
Francesco Moriero 2016
Pino Rigoli 2016–17
Mario Petrone 2017
Giovanni Pulvirenti 2017
Cristiano Lucarelli 2017–18
Andrea Sottil 2018–19
Walter Novellino 2019
Andrea Sottil 2019
Cristiano Lucarelli 2019–20
Giuseppe Raffaele 2020–21
Francesco Baldini 2021–22
Giovanni Ferraro 2022–23
Luca Tabbiani 2023
Cristiano Lucarelli 2023–present

Stadium information[edit]

Curva Nord supporters at Stadio Angelo Massimino, Catania

Catania first made their debut at the Stadio Angelo Massimino, formerly called the Stadio Cibali, in 1937. The stadium was renamed in honour of former president Angelo Massimino in 2002; he had been president of the club from 1969 until his death in 1996.

It has been proposed that the club would move to a 33,765 seater stadium named Stadio Dèi Palici, which is to be located in the southern outskirts of the city of Catania in an industrial zone called Pantano d'Arci.[21]

Sports centre[edit]

Catania trains at the Torre del Grifo Village sports center, inaugurated on 18 May 2011 and located in the adjacent municipality of Mascalucia. Owned by the Etna club, the centre covers an area of 150,000 m2 and has four regulation football fields—two with natural grass and two with synthetic grass—two swimming pools, and four gyms. In addition, Torre del Grifo houses the headquarters of Calcio Catania.[citation needed]


Competición Titles
Coppa delle Alpi 1960 (representing FIGC)
competition Titles
Serie B 1953–54
competition titles
Prima Divisione 1933–34
competition titles
Serie C 1938–39, 1947–48, 1948–49, 1974–75, 1979,80
competition titles
Serie C2 1998–99
competition titles
Serie D 1994–95, 2022–23
competition titles
Eccellenza 1993–94

important placings[edit]

Coppa delle Alpi Final
Genoa vs Catania 1964
Coppa Italia Semifinal
Roma vs Catania 2007–08

Divisional movements[edit]

Series Years Last Promotions Relegations
A 17 2013–14 - Decrease 5 (1955, 1966, 1971, 1984, 2014)
B 34 2014–15 Increase 5 (1954, 1960, 1970, 1983, 2006) Decrease 6 (1937, 1940, 1974, 1977, 1987, 2015)
2021–22 Increase 6 (1934, 1939, 1949, 1975, 1980, 2002)
Increase 1 (1999 C2)
Decrease 2 (1993✟,2022)
87 out of 90 years of professional football in Italy since 1929
D 2 1994–95 Increase 2 (1930, 1995) never
E 1 1993–94 Increase 1 (1994) never

Club records[edit]

  • Highest League Position: 8th, in the 1960–61 1964–65 and 2012–13 seasons.
  • Most League Appearances: 281, Damiano Morra between 1975 and 1984.
  • Most League Goals: 47, Guido Klein and Adelmo Prenna.
  • Most Serie A Appearances: 150, Giuseppe Vavassori between 1961 and 1966.
  • Most Serie A Points: 56 points in the 2012–13 season


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  15. ^ Redazione, di. "A S.I.G.I. il 95,4% del Calcio Catania". CalcioCataniaCom (in Italian). Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  16. ^ "Calcio: Tacopina firma preliminare per acquisto Catania - Calcio". Agenzia ANSA (in Italian). 16 January 2021.
  17. ^ "Catania, stop all'esercizio provvisorio: si attende l'ufficialità dell'esclusione dal campionato" (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. 9 April 2022. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
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  19. ^ "Ross Pelligra: "Catania una scelta imprenditoriale ma anche di cuore, grandi progetti per la squadra e la città"". 27 June 2022.
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External links[edit]