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Spal2013 logo.svg
Full nameSocietà Polisportiva Ars et Labor S.p.A.
Nickname(s)Gli Spallini
I Biancazzurri (The White and Blues)[1]
Gli Estensi (The House of Este)
Founded1907; 114 years ago (1907) (as "Società Polisportiva Ars et Labor")
2005; 16 years ago (2005) (refounded)
2012; 9 years ago (2012) (refounded)
GroundStadio Paolo Mazza,
Ferrara, Italy
ChairmanJoe Tacopina
Head coachPep Clotet
LeagueSerie B
2020–21Serie B, 9th of 20
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Società Polisportiva Ars et Labor, commonly known as S.P.A.L. (Italian pronunciation: [spal]), is a professional football club based in Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. The team plays in Serie B, the second tier of the Italian football league system.

Founded in 1907, since 1928 they have played their home matches at Stadio Paolo Mazza, named after Paolo Mazza (chairman of the club 1946–1977).

In total, SPAL have participated in 24 top-tier, 27 second-tier, 41 third-tier, 7 fourth-tier and 1 fifth-tier league seasons. The club's best finish was when they came fifth in the 1959–60 Serie A; they also reached the 1961–62 Coppa Italia final.

The club is chaired by the American Joe Tacopina, the current manager is the Spanish Pep Clotet.


From foundation to World War II[edit]

The club was founded in March 1907 as Circolo Ars et Labor (latin for Art and Work Club) by the Salesian priest Pietro Acerbis. In the early stages, it was mainly a cultural and religious association, then in 1913 it became a multi-sports company, taking the name of Società Polisportiva Ars et Labor (SPAL). The team began its professional activity under the aegis of the Italian Football Federation (Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio) in 1919, competing in the second-tier tournament.

SPAL played in the top flight league from 1920 to 1925, reaching the qualification playoff for the National Finals in 1921–22. From 1925 until the Second World War, they played in Serie B and Serie C: in this period, the club's all-time top striker Mario Romani scored 130 goals in 189 games during two different periods with the white-blues (1925–32 and 1937–38).

Between 1939 and 1943 the club temporarily changed its name to A.C. Ferrara, wearing the black and white colours of the city. After the suspension of the championships due to war, in 1945 the club returned to the name SPAL and to the light blue and white kits.

The golden period in Serie A[edit]

Fabio Capello at SPAL in 1966.

In 1946 Paolo Mazza became chairman of the club. After five consecutive seasons in Serie B, SPAL won promotion to Serie A after finishing the championship first in 1950–51. The white-blues subsequently stayed in the top division for most of the 1950s and 1960s, competing in 16 out of 17 Serie A seasons from 1951 to 1968.

SPAL finished fifth in 1959–60, thus obtaining the best finish in its history. Also, in 1961–62 they played in the Coppa Italia final, losing against Napoli. In the early stages of 1962–63 season, in which the club finished in eighth place, the white and blues managed to reach the top of the league table. During those years, the club was a launchpad for many young players who became stars, among them Fabio Capello.

In 1963–64 they were relegated to Serie B, but they came back to Serie A after only one year, and remained in the top division until 1968. At the end of the last season in the top flight, SPAL won the Cup of Italian-Swiss Friendship.

From 1970s to 21st century[edit]

SPAL fans celebrating a goal scored in 1992.

During 1970s, 1980s and 1990s SPAL played mostly in Serie B and Serie C/C1.

Paolo Mazza quit the presidency in December 1976 and was replaced by Primo Mazzanti. The former chairman died in December 1981 and three months later Ferrara's Stadio Comunale was named after him.

In 1990, Giovanni Donigaglia became chairman of the club: between 1990 and 1992 SPAL obtained back-to-back promotions from Serie C2 to Serie B, under the management of Giovan Battista Fabbri. Donigaglia left the presidency in 2002 with the squad in Serie C1. He was replaced by Lino di Nardo.

Recent years[edit]

The club went bankrupt in 2005,[2] and were reformed as SPAL 1907 S.r.l., under the terms of Article 52 of N.O.I.F..[3] In the summer of 2012, after suffering a second bankruptcy, the club was refounded for the second time as Società Sportiva Dilettantistica Real SPAL and would begin life in Serie D[4] again under Article 52 of N.O.I.F..[5]

At the end of the 2012–13 season the club took back its original name. Giacomense, a club founded in 1967 at Masi San Giacomo, a frazione of Masi Torello, had moved to the city of Ferrara; on 12 July 2013, owner Roberto Benasciutti made a deal with the Colombarini family for a merger between SPAL and Giacomense, with the latter giving its sports title to SPAL and continuing to play in Ferrara. The club changed its name to S.P.A.L. 2013, in order to continue the football history of SPAL. They finished the 2013–14 Lega Pro Seconda Divisione season in sixth place, thus qualifying for the inaugural unified 2014–15 Lega Pro season.

In 2015–16, the squad won promotion to Serie B for the first time since the 1992–93 season, after finishing first in group B of the Lega Pro. The following year they came first in Serie B, thus obtaining promotion to Serie A after a 49-year absence.[6] In their first season back in Serie A, SPAL avoided relegation by finishing in 17th place.[7] At the end of the 2018–19 season they confirmed their presence in the top flight for a third consecutive year, finishing 13th. The club had mixed fortunes in the 2019–2020 season and, after gaining just 15 points in 23 games, coach Leonardo Semplici was dismissed in February 2020, replaced by Luigi Di Biagio.[8] SPAL were relegated to Serie B, finishing in last place with 20 points. The club reached the 2020–21 Coppa Italia quarter-finals, becoming the only team from Serie B to advance to that stage in the competition.

Colours, badge and nicknames[edit]

The team's colours are light blue and white, which derive from the Salesians' emblem. The home kit, since 1962, has been composed of a vertical striped light blue-white shirt, white trainers and white socks. The only exception to light blue and white was when the club adopted a black and white kit between 1939 and 1943 (when it was named A.C. Ferrara), in honour of Ferrara's civic colours.

Currently the badge features an oval-shaped light blue escutcheon, with a white band in the upper section, on which is written the acronym S.P.A.L. in golden characters. Also, in the lower section, the black and white emblem of the city is featured. From 1980 until mid-1990s the official badge featured a fawn, another symbol of the club.

SPAL's most common nicknames are Biancazzurri (from the club colours, light blue and white) and Estensi (from the House of Este, ancient European noble dynasty that ruled Ferrara from 1240 to 1597).


Internal view of the stadium in 2018.
  • Campo di Piazza d'Armi (1919–28)
  • Stadio Paolo Mazza (1928–)

The current home ground of SPAL is the 16,134 seater Stadio Paolo Mazza. The stadium was opened in September 1928 as Stadio Comunale, then took on its current name in February 1982, in honour of the former president of the club Paolo Mazza, who died two months earlier.

Initially it had a capacity of 4,000. Then, in concomitance with the promotion of SPAL to Serie A, in 1951 it was subjected to a heavy restructuring that brought capacity to 25,000. Between 1960s and 1980s it was renovated again, reducing the number of possible spectators to 22,000 until the mid-2000s.

From 2005 to 2016 the capacity was limited to 7,500 due to safety reasons and cost containment. In 2016–17, after the club's promotion to Serie B and then to Serie A, the stadium was restructured again to match the modern needs of comfort and safety. In the summer of 2018 a further remodeling took place, in order to bring the stadium capacity from 13,135 seats to 16,134.[9]



Current squad[edit]

As of 31 August 2021[10]

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 Italy ITA Alberto Pomini
3 DF Italy ITA Alessandro Tripaldelli (on loan from Cagliari)
4 MF Morocco MAR Ayoub Abou
5 MF Italy ITA Salvatore Esposito
7 MF Italy ITA Giovanni Crociata (on loan from Empoli)
8 MF Italy ITA Marco Mancosu
9 FW Italy ITA Lorenzo Colombo (on loan from Milan)
11 FW Italy ITA Federico Melchiorri (on loan from Perugia)
14 MF Argentina ARG Franco Zuculini
17 DF Italy ITA Elio Capradossi (on loan from Spezia)
19 MF Italy ITA Luca Mora
20 FW Iceland ISL Mikael Ellertsson (on loan from Spezia)
21 FW Senegal SEN Demba Seck
22 GK Senegal SEN Demba Thiam
No. Pos. Nation Player
23 DF Italy ITA Francesco Vicari (captain)
24 DF Italy ITA Lorenzo Dickmann
25 DF Italy ITA Riccardo Spaltro
29 DF Poland POL Patryk Peda
33 DF Italy ITA Luca Coccolo (on loan from Juventus)
40 MF Italy ITA Jacopo Da Riva (on loan from Atalanta)
77 MF Italy ITA Federico Viviani
87 DF Czech Republic CZE David Heidenreich (on loan from Atalanta)
90 GK Italy ITA Andrea Seculin
91 DF Italy ITA Raffaele Celia
97 FW Italy ITA Ludovico D'Orazio
98 FW Italy ITA Kevin Piscopo (on loan from Empoli)
99 FW Ivory Coast CIV Emmanuel Latte Lath (on loan from Atalanta)

Out on loan[edit]

As of 31 August 2021

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
GK Italy ITA Marco Meneghetti (at Gubbio)
GK Italy ITA Cesare Galeotti (at Pergolettese)
DF Poland POL Jakub Iskra (at Śląsk Wrocław)
DF Italy ITA Moustapha Yabre (at Cesena)
MF Italy ITA Emmanuel Cuomo (at Nocerina)
No. Pos. Nation Player
MF Italy ITA Federico Zanchetta (at Lucchese)
MF Estonia EST Georgi Tunjov (at Carrarese)
MF Italy ITA Alessandro Murgia (at Perugia)
MF Italy ITA Mattia Valoti (at Monza, obligation to buy)
FW Italy ITA Federico Di Francesco (at Empoli, right to buy)

Notable former players[edit]


Below a chronological list of SPAL captains since 1950.

Name Years
Italy Giovanni Emiliani 1950–53
Italy Marcello Castoldi 1953–54
Italy Edoardo Dal Pos 1954–59
Argentina Oscar Massei 1959–61
Italy Sergio Cervato 1961–65
Argentina Oscar Massei 1965–68
Italy Carlo Dell'Omodarme 1968–69
Italy Enrico Cairoli July 1969 – October 1973
Italy Lucio Mongardi October 1973 – June 1975
Italy Sergio Reggiani 1975–76
Italy Ottavio Bianchi 1976–77
Italy Franco Pezzato 1977–79
Italy Mauro Gibellini 1979–81
Italy Rosario Rampanti 1981–82
Name Years
Italy Mirco Brilli 1982–83
Italy Giuseppe De Gradi 1983–85
Italy Elio Gustinetti 1985–86
Italy Fabio Perinelli 1986–87
Italy Arturo Vianello 1987–88
Italy Massimo Pellegrini 1988–89
Italy Francesco Cini 1989–90
Italy Franco Fabbri 1990–91
Italy Giuseppe Brescia 1991–93
Italy Andrea Mangoni 1993–94
Italy Giuseppe Brescia 1994–96
Italy Eugenio Sgarbossa 1996–97
Italy Fausto Pari 1997–98
Italy Alfonso Greco 1998–99
Italy Massimo Gadda 1999–00
Name Years
Italy Emanuele Cancellato July 2000 – January 2002
Italy Cristian Servidei January 2002 – June 2002
Italy Francesco Zanoncelli 2002–03
Italy Manuel Milana 2003–06
Switzerland David Sesa 2006–08
Italy Luis Fernando Centi July 2008 – February 2009
Italy Marco Zamboni February 2009 – June 2012
Italy Davide Marchini 2012–13
Italy Massimiliano Varricchio 2013–14
Italy Nicolas Giani 2014–17
Italy Luca Mora July 2017 – January 2018
Italy Mirco Antenucci January 2018 – June 2019
Italy Sergio Floccari 2019–21
Italy Francesco Vicari 2021–

Technical staff[edit]

Position Staff
Head of technical staff Italy Massimo Tarantino
Sporting director Italy Giorgio Zamuner
Sporting director assistant Italy Ivone De Franceschi
Head coach Spain Pep Clotet
Vice coach Spain Francisco Javier Bernal
Technical assistant Spain José Alberto Escobar
Technical assistant Italy Fabrizio Franceschetti
Fitness coach Italy Emanuele Tononi
Goalkeeping coach Italy Cristiano Scalabrelli
Injury recovery Italy Carlo Voltolini
Team manager Italy Alessandro Andreini
Head of medical staff Italy Raffaella Giagnorio
Team doctor Italy Francesco Palummieri
Physiotherapist Italy Daniele Zannini
Physiotherapist Italy Matteo Evangelisti
Physiotherapist Italy Piero Bortolin
Physiotherapist Italy Vittorio Bronzi

Source: [1]

Chairmen history[edit]

SPAL have had several presidents (chairmen) (Italian: presidenti, lit.'presidents' or Italian: presidenti del consiglio di amministrazione, lit.'chairmen of the board of directors') over the course of their history. Some of them have been the main shareholder of the club. The longest-serving chairman is Paolo Mazza.

Name Years
Italy Don Pietro Acerbis 1907–11
Italy Conte Buosi 1911–12
Italy Aminta Gulinati 1912–15
Italy Antonio Santini 1919–21
Italy Enrico Bassani 1921–24
Italy Gaetano Ridolfi 1924–27
Italy Giannino Bonfiglioli 1927–28
Italy On. Ferri 1928–31
Italy Giuseppe Turbiani
Italy Carlo Osti
Italy Comm. Gandini 1932–33
Name Years
Italy Umberto Barbè
Italy Giulio Divisi
Italy Luigi Orsi 1934–35
Italy Giovanni Argazzi 1935–36
Italy Nino Fiorini 1936–37
Italy Angelo Vissoli 1937–39
Italy Annio Bignardi 1939–41
Italy Augusto Caniato 1941–43
Italy Edmondo Bucci 1945–46
Italy Paolo Mazza 1946–77
Italy Primo Mazzanti 1977–85
Italy Giorgio Rossatti 1985–86
Name Years
Italy Francesco Nicolini 1986–89
Italy Albersano Ravani 1989–90
Italy Giovanni Donigaglia 1990–96
Italy Vanni Guzzinati 1996–97
Italy Giovanni Donigaglia 1997–02
Italy Lino Di Nardo 2002–05
Italy Gianfranco Tomasi 2005–08
Italy Cesare Butelli 2008–12
Italy Roberto Ranzani 2012–13
Italy Walter Mattioli 2013–21
United States Joe Tacopina 2021–

Managerial history[edit]

SPAL have had many managers and head coaches throughout their history, below is a chronological list of them.

Name Nationality Years
Carlo Marchiandi Italy 1919–22
Armand Halmos Hungary 1922–23
Giuseppe Ticozzelli Italy 1923–24
Walter Alt Czech Republic 1924–27
Carlo Osti
Carlo Marchiandi
Béla Károly Hungary 1928–29
György Hlavay Hungary 1929–31
Francesco Mattuteia
Adolf Mora Murer
Walter Alt Czech Republic 1933–34
Mihály Balacics Hungary 1934–35
György Hlavay
Guido Testolina
Paolo Mazza Italy 1936–37
Euro Riparbelli Italy 1937–39
Paolo Mazza Italy 1939–42
Giorgio Armari
Bruno Maini
József Viola Hungary July 1945 – June 1946
Guido Testolina Italy July 1946 – June 1947
Giuseppe Marchi Italy July 1947 – June 1948
Bruno Vale Italy July 1948 – June 1949
Antonio Janni Italy July 1949 – June 1954
Bruno Biagini Italy July 1954 – June 1955
Fioravante Baldi Italy July 1955 – June 1956
Paolo Tabanelli Italy July 1956 – June 1958
Fioravante Baldi Italy July 1958 – April 1960
Serafino Montanari Italy April 1960 – June 1960
Luigi Ferrero Italy July 1960 – September 1961
Serafino Montanari Italy September 1961 – April 1963
Aurelio Marchese Italy April 1963 – June 1963
Giacomo Blason Italy July 1963 – April 1964
Giovan Battista Fabbri Italy April 1964 – November 1964
Francesco Petagna Italy November 1964 – October 1968
Serafino Montanari Italy October 1968 – May 1969
Giovan Battista Fabbri Italy May 1969 – October 1969
Tito Corsi Italy October 1969 – June 1970
Cesare Meucci Italy July 1970 – June 1972
Eugenio Fantini Italy July 1972 – October 1972
Mario Caciagli Italy October 1972 – January 1975
Guido Capello Italy January 1975 – June 1975
Francesco Petagna Italy July 1975 – December 1975
Umberto Pinardi Italy December 1975 – February 1976
Guido Capello Italy February 1976 – November 1976
Giovanni Ballico Italy November 1976 – December 1976
Ottavio Bugatti Italy December 1976 – February 1977
Luis Suárez Spain February 1977 – June 1977
Mario Caciagli Italy July 1977 – June 1980
Battista Rota Italy July 1980 – March 1982
Name Nationality Years
Ugo Tomeazzi Italy March 1982 – June 1982
Gaetano Salvemini Italy July 1982 – December 1982
Giovanni Seghedoni Italy December 1982 – June 1983
Giovanni Galeone Italy July 1983 – October 1984
Giancarlo Danova Italy October 1984 – December 1984
Giovanni Galeone Italy December 1984 – June 1986
Ferruccio Mazzola Italy July 1986 – June 1987
Giancarlo Cella Italy July 1987 – November 1987
Giovan Battista Fabbri Italy November 1987 – June 1988
Giorgio Veneri Italy July 1988 – December 1988
Francesco Paolo Specchia Italy December 1988 – June 1989
Luciano Magistrelli Italy July 1989 – January 1990
Nello Santin Italy January 1990 – June 1990
Paolo Lombardo Italy July 1990 – February 1991
Giovan Battista Fabbri Italy February 1991 – October 1992
Rino Marchesi Italy October 1992 – April 1993
Giovan Battista Fabbri Italy April 1993 – June 1993
Gian Cesare Discepoli Italy July 1993 – January 1995
Vincenzo Guerini Italy January 1995 – September 1995
Salvatore Bianchetti Italy September 1995 – February 1997
Alfredo Magni Italy February 1997 – June 1997
Gianni De Biasi Italy July 1997 – June 1999
Giancarlo D'Astoli Italy July 1999 – June 2000
Alessandro Scanziani Italy July 2000 – November 2000
Mauro Melotti Italy November 2000 – November 2001
Fabio Perinelli Italy November 2001 – March 2002
Mauro Melotti Italy March 2002 – June 2002
Walter De Vecchi Italy July 2002 – October 2002
Giuliano Sonzogni Italy October 2002 – October 2003
Gian Cesare Discepoli Italy October 2003 – June 2004
Massimiliano Allegri Italy July 2004 – June 2005
Paolo Beruatto Italy July 2005 – February 2006
Walter Nicoletti Italy February 2006 – June 2006
Leonardo Rossi Italy July 2006 – June 2007
Francesco Buglio Italy July 2007 – February 2008
Roberto Labardi Italy February 2008
Angelo Alessio Italy February 2008 – June 2008
Aldo Dolcetti Italy July 2008 – November 2009
Egidio Notaristefano Italy November 2009 – February 2011
Gian Marco Remondina Italy February 2011 – June 2011
Stefano Vecchi Italy July 2011 – June 2012
David Sassarini Italy July 2012 – June 2013
Leonardo Rossi Italy July 2013 – October 2013
Massimo Gadda Italy October 2013 – June 2014
Oscar Brevi Italy July 2014 – December 2014
Leonardo Semplici Italy December 2014 – February 2020
Luigi Di Biagio Italy February 2020 – August 2020
Pasquale Marino Italy August 2020 – March 2021
Massimo Rastelli Italy March 2021 – June 2021
Pep Clotet Spain July 2021 –



League titles[edit]




Divisional movements[edit]

Level / Tier Series Years Last Promotions Relegations
1st Serie A / Prima Categoria / Prima Divisione 24 2019–20 - Decrease 4 (1925, 1964, 1968, 2020)
2nd Serie B / Prima Divisione / Seconda Divisione 27 2021–22 Increase 4 (1920, 1951, 1965, 2017) Decrease 7 (1929, 1936, 1939, 1969, 1977, 1982, 1993)
3rd Serie C / Serie C1 / Prima Divisione / Lega Pro Prima Divisione / Lega Pro 41 2015–16 Increase 7 (1933, 1938, 1946, 1973, 1978, 1992, 2016 Decrease 4 (1989, 1997, 2005✟, 2012✟)
4th Serie C2 / Lega Pro Seconda Divisione 7 2013–14 Increase 4 (1991, 1998, 2008, 2014) Decrease 1 (2012✟)
5th Serie D 1 2012–13 Increase 1 (2013) -

✟= Relegation due to bankruptcy.


  1. ^ Soattin, Davide (15 April 2020). "La SPAL gioca contro il Coronavirus: tutte le iniziative dei biancazzurri". tuttomercatoweb (in Italian). Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  2. ^ Hooper, Alasdair (18 August 2017). "Who are SPAL? The incredible rise of Serie A's new boys as club prepare for first top-flight fixture since 1968". talkSPORT. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  3. ^ Carraro, Franco (16 August 2005). "Comunicato Ufficiale Nº66/A (2005–06)" (PDF). Consiglio Federale (Press release) (in Italian). Rome: Italian Football Federation. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  4. ^ "FIGC registers SPAL in Serie D". il Resto del Carlino (in Italian). 8 August 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  5. ^ "First day in school for SPAL: It will return to his real level". estense.com (in Italian). 3 August 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  6. ^ "SPAL promoted to Serie A". Football Italia. 13 May 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Serie A basement battle". football-italia.net.
  8. ^ "Spal: ufficiale l'esonero di Semplici, al suo posto Di Biagio". la repubblica.com (in Italian). 10 February 2020. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  9. ^ "SPAL receives boost to further expand stadium". TheStadiumBusiness. 20 December 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  10. ^ "Società Polisportiva Ars et Labor – Squadra". spalferrara.it. Retrieved 26 March 2018.

External links[edit]