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.

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
OwnerVetroresina S.p.A.
ChairmanWalter Mattioli
Head coachPep Clotet
LeagueSerie B
2020–21Serie B, 9th of 20
WebsiteClub website
Current season

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, 26 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 owned by Vetroresina S.p.A. and chaired by Walter Mattioli. The current manager is Pep Clotet.


From foundation to World War II

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

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

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

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

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

As of 31 July 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
GK  ITA Marco Meneghetti
GK  ITA Andrea Seculin
GK  SEN Demba Thiam
DF  ITA Paolo Cannistrà
DF  ITA Luca Coccolo (on loan from Juventus)
DF  ITA Lorenzo Dickmann
DF  POL Jakub Iskra
DF  POL Patryk Peda
DF  ITA Filippo Saiani
DF  ITA Riccardo Spaltro
DF  ITA Francesco Vicari (captain)
DF  ITA Moustapha Yabre
MF  ITA Salvatore Esposito
MF  ITA Davide Mazzocco
No. Pos. Nation Player
MF  ITA Simone Missiroli
MF  ITA Luca Mora
MF  ITA Alessandro Murgia
MF  BRA Gabriel Strefezza
MF  EST Georgi Tunjov
MF  ITA Federico Viviani
MF  ITA Federico Zanchetta
FW  ITA Lorenzo Colombo (on loan from Milan)
FW  ITA Federico Di Francesco
FW  ITA Ludovico D'Orazio
FW  ISL Mikael Egill Ellertsson
FW  CIV Emmanuel Latte Lath (on loan from Atalanta)
FW  ITA Alessio Pinotti (on loan from Novara)
FW  SEN Demba Seck

Out on loan

As of 31 July 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  ITA Cesare Galeotti (at Pergolettese)
MF  ITA Mattia Valoti (at Monza, obligation to buy)

Notable former players


Below a chronological list of SPAL captains since 1950.

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

Technical staff

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


Chairmen history

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

Managerial history

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

Name Nationality Years
Carlo Marchiandi 1919–22
Armand Halmos 1922–23
Giuseppe Ticozzelli 1923–24
Walter Alt 1924–27
Carlo Osti
Carlo Marchiandi

Béla Károly 1928–29
György Hlavay 1929–31
Francesco Mattuteia
Adolf Mora Murer

Walter Alt 1933–34
Mihály Balacics 1934–35
György Hlavay
Guido Testolina

Paolo Mazza 1936–37
Euro Riparbelli 1937–39
Paolo Mazza 1939–42
Giorgio Armari
Bruno Maini

József Viola July 1945 – June 1946
Guido Testolina July 1946 – June 1947
Giuseppe Marchi July 1947 – June 1948
Bruno Vale July 1948 – June 1949
Antonio Janni July 1949 – June 1954
Bruno Biagini July 1954 – June 1955
Fioravante Baldi July 1955 – June 1956
Paolo Tabanelli July 1956 – June 1958
Fioravante Baldi July 1958 – April 1960
Serafino Montanari April 1960 – June 1960
Luigi Ferrero July 1960 – September 1961
Serafino Montanari September 1961 – April 1963
Aurelio Marchese April 1963 – June 1963
Giacomo Blason July 1963 – April 1964
Giovan Battista Fabbri April 1964 – November 1964
Francesco Petagna November 1964 – October 1968
Serafino Montanari October 1968 – May 1969
Giovan Battista Fabbri May 1969 – October 1969
Tito Corsi October 1969 – June 1970
Cesare Meucci July 1970 – June 1972
Eugenio Fantini July 1972 – October 1972
Mario Caciagli October 1972 – January 1975
Guido Capello January 1975 – June 1975
Francesco Petagna July 1975 – December 1975
Umberto Pinardi December 1975 – February 1976
Guido Capello February 1976 – November 1976
Giovanni Ballico November 1976 – December 1976
Ottavio Bugatti December 1976 – February 1977
Luis Suárez February 1977 – June 1977
Mario Caciagli July 1977 – June 1980
Battista Rota July 1980 – March 1982
Name Nationality Years
Ugo Tomeazzi March 1982 – June 1982
Gaetano Salvemini July 1982 – December 1982
Giovanni Seghedoni December 1982 – June 1983
Giovanni Galeone July 1983 – October 1984
Giancarlo Danova October 1984 – December 1984
Giovanni Galeone December 1984 – June 1986
Ferruccio Mazzola July 1986 – June 1987
Giancarlo Cella July 1987 – November 1987
Giovan Battista Fabbri November 1987 – June 1988
Giorgio Veneri July 1988 – December 1988
Francesco Paolo Specchia December 1988 – June 1989
Luciano Magistrelli July 1989 – January 1990
Nello Santin January 1990 – June 1990
Paolo Lombardo July 1990 – February 1991
Giovan Battista Fabbri February 1991 – October 1992
Rino Marchesi October 1992 – April 1993
Giovan Battista Fabbri April 1993 – June 1993
Gian Cesare Discepoli July 1993 – January 1995
Vincenzo Guerini January 1995 – September 1995
Salvatore Bianchetti September 1995 – February 1997
Alfredo Magni February 1997 – June 1997
Gianni De Biasi July 1997 – June 1999
Giancarlo D'Astoli July 1999 – June 2000
Alessandro Scanziani July 2000 – November 2000
Mauro Melotti November 2000 – November 2001
Fabio Perinelli November 2001 – March 2002
Mauro Melotti March 2002 – June 2002
Walter De Vecchi July 2002 – October 2002
Giuliano Sonzogni October 2002 – October 2003
Gian Cesare Discepoli October 2003 – June 2004
Massimiliano Allegri July 2004 – June 2005
Paolo Beruatto July 2005 – February 2006
Walter Nicoletti February 2006 – June 2006
Leonardo Rossi July 2006 – June 2007
Francesco Buglio July 2007 – February 2008
Roberto Labardi February 2008
Angelo Alessio February 2008 – June 2008
Aldo Dolcetti July 2008 – November 2009
Egidio Notaristefano November 2009 – February 2011
Gian Marco Remondina February 2011 – June 2011
Stefano Vecchi July 2011 – June 2012
David Sassarini July 2012 – June 2013
Leonardo Rossi July 2013 – October 2013
Massimo Gadda October 2013 – June 2014
Oscar Brevi July 2014 – December 2014
Leonardo Semplici December 2014 – February 2020
Luigi Di Biagio February 2020 – August 2020
Pasquale Marino August 2020 – March 2021
Massimo Rastelli March 2021 – June 2021
Pep Clotet July 2021 –



League titles



Divisional movements

Level / TierSeriesYearsLastPromotionsRelegations
1stSerie A / Prima Categoria / Prima Divisione 242019–20- 4 (1925, 1964, 1968, 2020)
2ndSerie B / Prima Divisione / Seconda Divisione 262020–21 4 (1920, 1951, 1965, 2017) 7 (1929, 1936, 1939, 1969, 1977, 1982, 1993)
3rdSerie C / Serie C1 / Prima Divisione / Lega Pro Prima Divisione / Lega Pro 412015–16 7 (1933, 1938, 1946, 1973, 1978, 1992, 2016 4 (1989, 1997, 2005✟, 2012✟)
4thSerie C2 / Lega Pro Seconda Divisione 72013–14 4 (1991, 1998, 2008, 2014) 1 (2012✟)
5thSerie D 12012–13 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.