|Organising body||Lega Italiana|
|Number of teams||60|
|Level on pyramid||3|
|Promotion to||Serie B|
|Relegation to||Serie D|
|Domestic cup(s)||Coppa Italia|
|League cup(s)|| Supercoppa di Serie C |
Coppa Italia Serie C
|International cup(s)|| UEFA Europa League |
(via winning Coppa Italia)
|Current champions|| Südtirol (Group A)|
Modena (Group B)
Bari (Group C)
|Most championships||Prato (6 titles)|
|TV partners|| Eleven Sports (All games)|
Sky Sport (8 games per week)
Rai Sport (Monday game)
OneFootball (5 games per week)
|Current: 2022–23 Serie C|
The Serie C (Italian pronunciation: [ˈsɛːrje ˈtʃi] ) is the third-highest division in the Italian football league system after the Serie B and Serie A. The Lega Italiana Calcio Professionistico (Lega Pro) is the governing body that runs the Serie C.
The unification of the Lega Pro Prima Divisione and the Lega Pro Seconda Divisione as Lega Pro Divisione Unica (often also abbreviated as Lega Pro) in 2014reintroduced the format of the original Serie C that existed between 1935 and 1978 (before the split into Serie C1 and Serie C2). On 25 May 2017 the Lega Pro assembly unanimously approved the return to the original name of the competition to Serie C.
A third division above the regional leagues was first created in Italy in 1926, when fascist authorities decided to reform the major championships on a national basis, increasing the number of teams participating by promoting many regional teams from the Third Division (Terza Divisione) to the Second Division (Seconda Divisione).
A new league running this Second Division, the Direttorio Divisioni Inferiori Nord (Northern Directory of Lower Divisions) was set up in Genoa, while football activity in the southern part of the country was run by the Direttorio Divisioni Inferiori Sud which later became the Direttorio Meridionale (Southern Directory). These leagues did not last long; after another reform they were disbanded between 1930 and 1931. Some bigger clubs who owned large pitches with dimensions of 100x60 metres were promoted to the First Division (Prima Divisione); a league defined and structured as the "National Championship".
The Second Division had no relegations to regional leagues as most were reelected at the beginning of each new season. Once a critical threshold was reached the Italian federation decided to close the two leagues and move all teams to the "Direttori Regionali" (Regional Committees) so that the labour-intensive job of organisation was delegated to more efficient and organised regional staff.
The most successful teams coming from the Second Divisions in 5 years (from 1926–27 to 1930–31) composed 6 ever-growing sections of the First Division (Prima Divisione) which at the beginning had just a few teams in just one section from southern Italy.
This championship was organized by the same league governing Serie A and Serie B (the "Direttorio Divisioni Superiori"), even if, as opposed to the two higher divisions, it was structured in local groups with geographical criteria. The number of clubs belonging to the Prima Divisione continued to increase every year, until FIGC decided to rename it Serie C (at the beginning of the 1935–36 season) while a subsequent large reduction in 1948 led to the creation of a sole national division in 1952–53.
The reform that created the actual league was decided by Bruno Zauli in 1959 as he built on the incomplete work started by the former president Ottorino Barassi to make professional football fully recognised and organised. While Lega Calcio had a stated mission of organising professional and national divisions, the new Lega Nazionale Semiprofessionisti based in Florence had to regulate the two semiprofessional and subnational divisions: Serie C and Serie D, with the first one adopting a format of three groups of 20 teams each. In 1978 the semiprofessional sector was abolished; Serie D became an amateur section while Serie C was divided into two professional divisions (Serie C1 and Serie C2), and the league changed its name to Lega Professionisti Serie C. On 20 June 2008, the league was restructured and took its current name Lega Italiana Calcio Professionistico.
After the league reform of 2014, the two previous divisions of Lega Pro Prima Divisione and Lega Pro Seconda Divisione were ultimately merged into a new league; the Lega Pro Divisione Unica or more informally addressed as just Lega Pro. This is the league structure currently in operation; comprising 60 teams that are divided geographically in three groups of 20 each. At the end of each season, four teams are promoted to Serie B (three group winners, plus one coming from a promotion playoff involving the three group runners-up). Meanwhile, nine teams are relegated to Serie D: the last-placed team from each group go down directly, whereas teams between 16th and 19th from each group place play a relegation playoff (officially referred to as play-out), with the two losing teams from each group also relegated.
In May 2017, the Lega Pro assembly unanimously approved the return to the original name Serie C.The 2017–18 Serie C season includes 19 teams in each of the three divisions after adjustments were made for excluded clubs.
Serie C is composed of 60 teams divided equally into three groups split horizontally in geographical terms, from north to south (basically they are three leagues unbound from each other during regular season). The round-robin format is used, with the two halves of the season having exactly the same order of fixtures. Three points are awarded for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss. At the end of the regular season one table per group is determined, based on points. If two or more teams are tied on points, the following tie-breaking criteria apply:
A total of 4 teams are promoted to Serie B and 9 teams are relegated to Serie D. The winner team of each group is directly promoted and qualifies for Supercoppa di Serie C. Teams which have finished in the bottom of the league are directly relegated. The other divisional changes are determined through a complex system of promotion and relegation play-offs.
28 teams compete to achieve the only available spot for Serie B. 27 of them are the teams which have finished in the 2nd to 10th positions (9 per group). The 28th team is the winner of Coppa Italia Serie C.There are a total of six rounds:
First round and Second round consist in single-leg games and, if teams are tied after regular time, the higher-placed team advances. 6 teams (2 per group) advance to the next round.
Third round and Quarter-finals consist in two-legged games, with seeded team playing at home for second leg, and, if teams are tied on aggregate, the seeded team advances. The four winning teams reach the Final four, composed of:
Final four fixtures are drawn, all games are two-legged and, if teams are tied on aggregate, the winner is decided by extra-time and a penalty shootout if required.
In order to determine the best-placed team, the following criteria apply:
|Phase||Round||Clubs remaining||Clubs involved||From previous round||Entries in this round||Teams entering at this round|
|Group phase||First round||28||18||none||18||Teams in the 5th to 10th positions|
|Second round||19||12||9||3||4th-placed teams|
|National phase||Third round||13||10||6||4||3rd-placed teams and Coppa Italia Serie C winner|
If the winner of Coppa Italia Serie C:
Number of teams which play the so called play-out in the Italian football is variable. Usually, fixtures pair the 16th v 19th and 17th vs 18th-placed teams. Matches are two-legged, the higher-placed team plays at home for second leg and, if teams are tied on aggregate, the lower-placed team is relegated to Serie D.However, if the higher-placed team finishes 9 or more points ahead of the lower-placed team, play-out is canceled and team is relegated directly.
To encourage the development of homegrown players, all Lega Pro clubs were capped to use no more than 16 players in their squads that were older than 23 years of age (in 2019–20 season, player born before 1 January 1997), plus two wildcard for long serving players of the clubs. The clubs could use an unlimited numbers of under-23 players.
10 teams from Lombardy, 3 teams from Veneto, 2 teams from Emilia-Romagna, 2 teams from Piedmont, 2 teams from Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and 1 team from Friuli Venezia Giulia.
|AlbinoLeffe||Albino and Leffe||AlbinoLeffe Stadium (Zanica)||1,791|
|FeralpiSalò||Salò and Lonato del Garda||Lino Turina||2,364|
|Fiorenzuola||Fiorenzuola d'Arda||Comunale di Fiorenzuola d'Arda||4,000|
|Giana Erminio||Gorgonzola||Città di Gorgonzola||3,766|
|Juventus U23||Turin||Giuseppe Moccagatta (Alessandria)||5,926|
|Pro Patria||Busto Arsizio||Carlo Speroni||5,000|
|Pro Sesto||Sesto San Giovanni||Breda||4,501|
|Pro Vercelli||Vercelli||Silvio Piola||5,505|
|Renate||Renate||Città di Meda (Meda)||2,500|
|Virtus Verona||Verona||Mario Gavagnin-Sinibaldo Nocini||1,500|
7 teams from Tuscany, 4 teams from Emilia-Romagna, 3 teams from Marche, 2 teams from Abruzzo, 1 team from Lazio, 1 team from Liguria, 1 team from Sardinia and 1 team from Umbria.
|Cesena||Cesena||Orogel Stadium-Dino Manuzzi||20,194|
|Montevarchi||Montevarchi||Ettore Mannucci (Pontedera)||2,700|
|Pescara||Pescara||Adriatico – Giovanni Cornacchia||20,515|
|Reggiana||Reggio Emilia||Mapei Stadium – Città del Tricolore||21,515|
|Virtus Entella||Chiavari||Comunale di Chiavari||5,587|
|Vis Pesaro||Pesaro||Tonino Benelli||4,898|
6 teams from Apulia, 4 teams from Campania, 3 teams from Sicily, 2 teams from Basilicata, 2 teams from Calabria, 2 teams from Lazio and 1 team from Molise.
|ACR Messina||Messina||San Filippo-Franco Scoglio||38,722|
|Fidelis Andria||Andria||Degli Ulivi||9,140|
|Juve Stabia||Castellammare di Stabia||Romeo Menti||7,642|
|Monopoli||Monopoli||Vito Simone Veneziani||6,880|
|Monterosi||Monterosi||Enrico Rocchi (Viterbo)||5,460|
|Turris||Torre del Greco||Amerigo Liguori||3,566|
|Vibonese||Vibo Valentia||Luigi Razza||6,000|
|Virtus Francavilla||Francavilla Fontana||Giovanni Paolo II||2,137|
This is the complete list of the clubs that took part in the 38 Serie C seasons played from the 1935–36 season until the 1977–78 season (participation in the editions of the 1945–46, 1946–47 and 1947–48 seasons, championships that due to World War II, are excluded from the list as they were divided into two completely independent leagues), the three Lega Pro seasons played from the 2014–15 season until the 2016–17 season, and from the 2017–18 season. The teams in bold compete in Serie C in the current season.
For Serie C1 and Lega Pro Prima Divisione winners, see Lega Pro Prima Divisione and for Serie C2 and Lega Pro Seconda Divisione winners, see Lega Pro Seconda Divisione between 1978–79 and 2013–14
Lega Pro Prima Divisione was the third highest football league in Italy. It consisted of 33 teams, divided geographically into two divisions of 16 and 17 teams for group A and B respectively. Until 2008 it was known as Serie C1.
A.C. Carpi is an Italian professional football club based in Carpi a city in the province of Modena. The club was founded in 1909, re-founded in 2000 and 2022.
The Seconda Categoria is a level of football in Italy. It is the 8th level in the Italian football league system. Each individual league winner within the Seconda Categoria level progresses to their closest regional league in the Prima Categoria level. Depending on each league's local rules, a number of teams each year are relegated from each league, to the 9th level of Italian football, the Terza Categoria.
The 2007–08 Serie D was the sixty edition of the top level Italian non-professional football championship. It represented the fifth tier in the Italian football league system.
The 2008–09 Lega Pro Prima Divisione season is the thirty-first since its renaming to Serie C1 in 1978, and the first edition since the renaming from Serie C1 to Lega Pro. It was divided into two phases: the regular season, played from September 2008 to May 2009, and the playoff phase from May to June 2009.
The 2008–09 Lega Pro Seconda Divisione season was the thirty-first football (soccer) league season of Italian Lega Pro Seconda Divisione since its establishment in 1978, and the first since the renaming from Serie C2 to Lega Pro.
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Virtus Entella, commonly referred to as Entella, is an Italian professional football club based in Chiavari, Liguria. Founded in 1914, the club currently competes in the Serie C Group B.
The 2009–10 Lega Pro Prima Divisione season was the thirty-second football league season of Italian Lega Pro Prima Divisione since its establishment in 1978, and the second since the renaming from Serie C to Lega Pro.
The 2009–10 Lega Pro Seconda Divisione season was the thirty-second football league season of Italian Lega Pro Seconda Divisione since its establishment in 1978, and the second since the renaming from Serie C to Lega Pro.
The 2009–10 Serie D was the sixty-second edition of the top level Italian non-professional football championship. It represented the fifth tier in the Italian football league system. It consisted of 167 divided into six 18-team divisions, one 19-team division and two 20-team divisions.
The 2010–11 Lega Pro Prima Divisione season was the thirty-third football league season of Italian Lega Pro Prima Divisione since its establishment in 1978, and the third since the renaming from Serie C to Lega Pro.
The 2010–11 Lega Pro Seconda Divisione season was the thirty-third football league season of Italian Lega Pro Seconda Divisione since its establishment in 1978, and the third since the renaming from Serie C to Lega Pro.
The 2010–11 Serie D was the sixty-third edition of the top level Italian non-professional football championship. It represented the fifth tier in the Italian football league system. It originally consisted of 166 teams, with two divisions allocated 20 teams each while the other seven allocated 18 teams. After the first matchday, another team was added, increasing the number of teams to 167 and Girone I to 19 teams.
The 2011–12 Lega Pro Seconda Divisione season was the thirty-fourth football league season of Italian Lega Pro Seconda Divisione since its establishment in 1978, and the fourth since the renaming from Serie C to Lega Pro.
Football Club Pro Vercelli 1892, commonly referred to as Pro Vercelli, is an Italian football club based in Vercelli, Piedmont. The club is mostly renowned as one of the most successful teams in the early football era of Italy, with seven national titles. They currently play in Serie C, the third tier of Italian football.
The 2012–13 Serie D was the sixty-fifth edition of the top level Italian non-professional football championship. It represented the fifth tier in the Italian football league system.
The 2013–14 Seconda Divisione season is the thirty-sixth and final football league season of Italian Seconda Divisione since its establishment in 1978, and the sixth since the renaming from Serie C to Lega Pro.
The 2014–15 Lega Pro was the first season of the unified Lega Pro division in place of the old Prima Divisione and Seconda Divisione. The league is composed of 60 teams divided into three different groups of 20 each.
Seconda Divisione was the name of the second level of the Italian Football Championship from 1921 to 1926. The competition was initially founded in opposition to the FIGC by the clubs of Northern Italy, which disagreed the old format of the championship, based on plethoric regional groups. In 1921–22, two concurrent championships took place, before FIGC accepted the new format for 1922–23.