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AC Cesena.svg
Full name Associazione Calcio Cesena S.p.A.
Nickname(s) I Cavallucci Marini (The Seahorses)
I Bianconeri (The White and Blacks)
Founded 1940 (84 years ago) (1940)
Dissolved 2018; 6 years ago (2018)
Ground Stadio Dino Manuzzi,
Cesena, Italy
Ground Capacity 23,900
Head Coach Domenico Toscano
League Serie C
2017–18 Serie B, 13th of 22
Third colours
Cesena since 1930 new
The progress of Cesena in the Italian football league structure since the club's foundation in 1940.

AC Cesena, commonly referred to as Cesena (Italian pronunciation: [tʃeˈzɛːna]), was an Italian football club based in Cesena, Emilia-Romagna. The club spent most of its history in professional leagues such as Serie A and Serie B, but went bankrupt and folded in 2018. Another club from Cesena, A.S.D. Romagna Centro Cesena, claims to be the bankrupted club's successor and in 2019 changed its name to "Cesena F.C.".

The club was formed in 1940 and won its first promotion to Serie A in 1973. Since then, the club have been in Serie A for a total of 13 seasons, their best achievement coming in 1976 with a sixth-placed finish and a short run in the following season's UEFA Cup. The other four promotions to Serie A were achieved in 1981, 1987, 2010 (after two consecutive promotions — from the third league (Lega Pro) in 2009 and from Serie B in 2010, both won on the final day of the season) and 2014.


Founded in 1940, Cesena reached Serie B in 1968 and were promoted to Serie A for the first time in 1973. With players such as Pierluigi Cera and Gianluigi Savoldi, the club held its own and finished a respectable 11th place in their debut season, repeating that finish the following year. In the 1975–76 season, Cesena surprised Italy by finishing sixth and subsequently qualifying for the UEFA Cup. The glory was short-lived and they would be relegated the next year.

A second promotion to Serie A followed in 1981 and finished a respectable 10th before being relegated once more in 1983, staying in Serie B for four years. After winning a play-off, they were back in Serie A for 1987–88 and enjoyed a four-year stay, being obdurate enough to just avoid relegation in this time.

After relegation in 1991, Cesena had another chance to return to Serie A in 1994. With players such as Alessandro Teodorani, Emiliano Salvetti, Luigi Piangerelli, Aldo Dolcetti, and Dario Hübner, this was a team of considerable ability. They finished level on points with Padova, however, and lost a promotion play-off which would be a bitter blow for the club, who would suffer relegation to Serie C1 in 1997. Whilst promotion followed, a relegation play-off against Pistoiese in 2000 would see them condemned to a four-year stay in the third division.

In the 2005–06 Serie B, Cesena surprisingly emerged as contenders for promotion to Serie A, ending in sixth place and being therefore qualified for the promotion play-offs. They escaped relegation the following season, but not in 2007–08.

Cesena's first campaign in Serie C1, now rebranded Lega Pro Prima Divisione, started with former Foligno boss Pierpaolo Bisoli as new head coach. Throughout the season, Cesena quickly emerged as major contenders for direct promotion, and managed to take first place in the league on Week 33, with only one game remaining and a two-point advantage to challengers Pro Patria. On the final week of the season, Cesena's 0–0 draw with Verona, coupled with Pro Patria's 0–0 draw with Padova, gave the bianconeri the league title and direct promotion back to Serie B, after only one season in the Italian third tier. Cesena went to as 3rd in Round 33, one point behind Brescia in the 2009–10 season. Cesena earned their second consecutive promotion after a 1–0 victory at Piacenza and Brescia's 2–1 loss in Padua against Padova on 30 May 2010, finishing 19 years of absence from the Serie A.

Serie A and B

Cesena returned to Serie A after 19 years of absence in 2010. After the 2011–12 season, Cesena were relegated from the top tier to the Serie B.

Since relegation Cesena also restructured their finance, which the company revered merger with intermediate holding company Cesena 1940 Srl in December 2012. The company held 98.23% shares of AC Cesena SpA. After the merger, another intermediate holding company, Opera Cesena Calcio Srl represented by Igor Campedelli (from unknown investor through Romagna Sport Srl), which previously own 65.03% shares on Cesena 1940 Srl, sold 27.6% shares of Cesena to GMG Srl, a company of Giorgio Lugaresi, who already owned 30.06% shares of Cesena 1940 Srl before the merger. On 24 April 2013 Giorgio Lugaresi was re-elected as the president of A.C. Cesena SpA. After the transactions the club also recapitalized €9.5 million during 2013–14 season in order to avoid bankruptcy, which GMG Srl through subsidiary Cesena & Co. Scarl, held 9,499,000 out of 9,500,000 shares (99.9895%) of Cesena as of 30 June 2014, with a nominal value of €1 per shares. In February 2014 Cesena was under criminal investigation for the fraud in Campedelli era. Campedelli was banned 6 months in March 2013 by FIGC.

Despite the financial difficulties, Cesena won promotion back to Serie A on 18 June 2014, winning Latina in playoffs in 4–2 aggregate. In that match, most of the players (12 out of 20) were on loan from other clubs, with only 4 players were under Cesena contract in starting lineup (Renzetti, De Feudis, Garritano and Defrel) and 4 players on the bench (Alberto Iglio, Consolini, Rodríguez and Succi). Financially, Cesena had another year of negative EBITDA in 2013–14 season, for about €11 million, if excluding windfall profit from player trading from the calculation.

In September 2016, the club and former chairman Campedelli were also sued by the prosecutor for false accounting in player-swap (Fabbri–Palumbo as well as Nagatomo–Caldirola–Garritano) Eventually the directors were inadmissible from the charge due to expiry of the legal proceeding but the club chose to plead guilty for a fine of €80,000.

In June 2018, Cesena was charged for false accounting again in the player swap with Chievo. The prosecutor request to penalize Cesena for up to 15 points, accusing the price tag in the deals were inflated. However, as Cesena was folded in 2018, the club was not penalized. An appeal to a department of Italian National Olympic Committee, stating the point deduction should be applied to 2017–18 season, causing Virtus Entella, which originally relegated in 2017–18 Serie B season, made another appeal to Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale del Lazio, for re-admission back to 2018–19 Serie B.

On 16 July 2018 Cesena declared bankruptcy and were banned from participating in 2018–19 Serie B.

Phoenix club

In July 2018 A.S.D. Romagna Centro, or known as Romagna Centro, applied to rename as "Cesena F.C.", as a phoenix club of A.C. Cesena.

Colours and badge

The team's colours were black and white.


  • Serie B:
    • Runners-up (3): 1972–73, 1980–81 (Shared with Genoa), 2009–10
    • Play-off Winners (2): 1986–87, 2013–14
  • Serie C/Serie C1/Lega Pro:
    • Winners (3): 1967–68, 1997–98, 2008–09
    • Play-off Winners (1): 2003–04
  • Coppa Italia Serie C:
    • Winners (1): 2003–04
    • Runners-up (1): 1997–98
  • Prima Divisione:
    • Winners (1): 1940–41
  • Serie D:
    • Winners (1): 1959–60
  • Promozione Regionale:
    • Winners (2): 1952–53, 1956–57


Retired numbers

No. Player Nationality Position Reason Ref
12 Tifosi  Italy Not applicable Reserved for the Cesena supporters
21 Martelli, PaoloPaolo Martelli  Italy Defender Posthumous recognition. Died in a car accident on 12 April 1999

Notable former players

This list of former players includes those who received international caps while playing for the team, made significant contributions to the team in terms of appearances or goals while playing for the team, or who made significant contributions to the sport either before they played for the team, or after they left. It is clearly not yet complete and all inclusive, and additions and refinements will continue to be made over time.


  • Austria Karl Stürmer (1942–43)
  • Italy Cinzio Scagliotti (1949–50)
  • Italy Pietro Magni (1953–54)
  • Italy Gipo Poggi (1961–62)
  • Italy Luigi Radice (1972–73)
  • Italy Giuseppe Marchioro (1975–76)
  • Italy Giulio Corsini (1976–77)
  • Italy Giuseppe Marchioro (1977–78)
  • Italy Giancarlo Cadé (1978–79)
  • Italy Osvaldo Bagnoli (1979–81)
  • Italy Giovan Battista Fabbri (1981–82)
  • Italy Bruno Bolchi (1982–83)
  • Italy Giuseppe Marchioro (1983–84)
  • Italy Bruno Bolchi (1986–87)
  • Italy Alberto Bigon (1987–89)
  • Italy Marcello Lippi (1989–91)
  • Italy Azeglio Vicini (1992–93)
  • Italy Bruno Bolchi (1993–95)
  • Italy Marco Tardelli (1995–98)
  • Italy Giuseppe Marchioro (1996–97)
  • Italy Alberto Cavasin (1998–99)
  • Italy Walter De Vecchi (2000–02)
  • Italy Agatino Cuttone (2001–02)
  • Italy Giuseppe Iachini (2002–03)
  • Italy Fabrizio Castori (2003–07)
  • Italy Giovanni Vavassori (2007–08)
  • Italy Fabrizio Castori (2008)
  • Italy Pierpaolo Bisoli (2008–10)
  • Italy Massimo Ficcadenti (2010–11)
  • Italy Marco Giampaolo (2011)
  • Italy Daniele Arrigoni (2011–12)
  • Italy Mario Beretta (2012)
  • Italy Nicola Campedelli (2012)
  • Italy Pierpaolo Bisoli (2012–14)
  • Italy Domenico Di Carlo (2014–2015)
  • Italy Massimo Drago (2015–2016)
  • Italy Andrea Camplone (2016–)

European record


Season Round Club Home Away Aggregate Reference
1976–77 First round East Germany Magdeburg 3–1 0–3 3–4
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