Serie A club Spezia has completed the first part of the redevelopment of its Alberto Picco Stadium ahead of the arena’s first-ever top-flight game with fans present.

Spezia – embarking on just its second season in Italy’s top fight – said work on expanding the Curva Piscina section has now concluded and been approved by the local authorities and Serie A officials ahead of this weekend’s game against Udinese.

Renovation work began in June and increased the Curva Piscina’s capacity to 3,176 seats, divided into two sections. The project was overseen by architect GAU Arena, construction company Clarin Italia Tribune and Spezia’s head of infrastructure, Riccardo Lazzini.

Club owner Robert Platek announced a three-year, €15m project to update and expand Alberto Picco Stadium shortly after taking over the club last year. The club was forced to play home games in Cesena until December during its first-ever Serie A season in 2020-21 due to its own stadium failing to meet the league’s requirements. COVID-19 restrictions meant fans were not allowed at its games even after fixtures returned to Alberto Picco.

As well as the work on the Curva Piscina, the final two phases of redevelopment, focused on the stadium’s Tribuna main stand, will commence at the end of the 2021-22 season.

Speaking about the completion of the Curva Piscina, Spezia owner Platek said: “I want to say thanks to the mayor, the municipality, police and fire departments and everyone else in the city who supported us in this project. This herculean accomplishment would only be possible with the support of our great architects GAU Arena, the construction company Clarin Italia Tribune, and of course, our amazing team lead by Riccardo Lazzini – it’s an amazing achievement!

“To the fans, I say: we did this for you, your support is vital to the team and inspires us all. We look forward to hearing the huge noise on Sunday to support the boys! Forza Spezia!”

GAU Arena has a strong portfolio of work in Italian football, most notably with Juventus’ Allianz Stadium, while it is also responsible for Bologna’s plan to redevelop the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.