Empoli secured promotion to Serie A after a 2-year absence. Founded in 1920, the Tuscany side 1st joined Italy’s top tier in 1986/87. In their Serie A debut match they beat FC Internazionale, and that momentum helped them endure two seasons in the top flight. However, they spent the following several seasons in the 2nd and 3rd tiers, and only returned to the Serie A in the 1997/98 season. After years of see-sawing between the top two tiers, now they start their 14th season in the Serie A. In the 2007/08 season, the club got a taste of international football, as they qualified for the UEFA Cup, even if they lost their 1st tie against Zürich.
Empoli are one of the few Italian top-flight clubs that are not based in a provincial capital city. The town, with a population of around 50,000, boasts a stadium with a capacity of more than 16,000, demonstrating the importance of the football team within the community. The club is also renowned for its Academy programme, nurturing its own young talents.
Salernitana are returning to the top flight after 22 years of absence, having secured 2nd place in the Serie B table behind Empoli in the past season. Based in the spectacular city of Salerno, Campania, the club was originally founded in 1919. This has been their 3rd stint in the Serie A, after 1-year campaigns in 1947/48 and 1998/99.
Salernitana’s promotion to Seria A has been at stake due to a deep uncertainty regarding the club’s ownership. For weeks, their right to participate in the campaign was in question, as FIFA and the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) regulations prohibit the ownership of multiple clubs by the same person in the same division, as Salernitana’s owner Claudio Lotito is also the chairman of Lazio. FIGC set a deadline for Lotito to sell the club by 26 June. The club failed to find an investor, but he managed to place the club into a trust before the deadline at the end of June. Now, under the watchful eye of the FIGC, the trustees have to continue with proceedings for the sale of Salernitana which must take place by the end of the year, otherwise the club will be excluded from the top-tier Italian league. Up to now, three parties have expressed their interest, with the identities of the potential buyers not being revealed.
Venezia return to the Serie A after an 18-year absence, by having won the Serie B play-offs. Specifically, the club managed to rise from 4th-tier Serie D to Serie A in only five years. Founded in 1907, Venezia have spent a major part of their history in Italy's top two divisions. Their top results include winning the Coppa Italia in the 1940/41 season, and finishing 3rd place in the Serie A in the following season
In the past several decades, Venezia have played in lower tiers and declared bankruptcy three times since 2004. The club’s fortunes changed in 2015, when a group of American investors, led by Joe Tacopina, acquired the club out of bankruptcy, and the re-founded club earned promotion from Serie D to Serie C. The next year, Venezia hired as its manager former Italy star player Filippo Inzaghi, who led the club to become a surprise contender for promotion to Serie A in a 2-year period. However, that spell of success proved to be short, and the club almost dropped to the 3rd tier again in 2018.
The club’s stadium, Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo, is by far the smallest one in the Serie A, with a capacity of 7,500, and is primarily accessible only by boat. Opened in 1913, it is also the 2nd oldest stadium in Italy, after Genoa's Stadio Luigi Ferraris, which was opened two years earlier.