MILAN (Reuters) - Tiny Carpi, playing fifth division football only five seasons ago, completed a remarkable rise on Tuesday when they were promoted to Serie A for the first time after a 0-0 draw with Bari.
Carpi, whose Sandro Cabassi stadium holds only 4,144 people, made sure of their place with four matches to spare as they moved 12 points clear of third-placed Bologna, with a better head-to-head record.
The club are based in the town of the same name, with a population of only 67,000, in the Emilia Romagna region of northern Italy.
Carpi were originally founded in 1909 although they were declared bankrupt in 1999 and re-established the following year.
Their rise began in the 2009-10 season, when they were promoted out of Serie D which at the time was the fifth tier of Italian football.
They also won promotion in two of the next three seasons and took part in Serie B for the first time in 2013/14, finishing 12th.
“It’s been an extraordinary journey and I’m delighted with this promotion,” coach Fabrizio Castori, himself a journeyman who took over at the start of the season, told Sky Sport Italia.
“This team has improved step by step and these lads have a great future.”
There are questions over where Carpi will play next season, however, as Serie A rules require a minimum capacity of 20,000, although special exemptions are sometimes approved.
In February, Lazio president Claudio Lotito caused uproar over a leaked telephone conversation in which he said that Carpi’s promotion would be a financial disaster for Serie A.
“If Carpi come up…..if teams come up who are not worth lira, in two or three years we won’t have a penny,” he said.
Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; editing by Toby Davis