The Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) has on Thursday, revealed that Zebre (Zebras) will be the new club to replace Aironi in the Heineken Cup and the Pro12 competitions for the 2012/13 season.
Zebre were originally founded in 1973 as an invitational club for north-western Italy.
The new club, which will take its place in the Heineken Cup pool draw in Dublin on Tuesday along with the other Italian representative Benetton Treviso, will be based in Parma and will play at the XXV Aprile Stadium which is currently being refurbished and expanded.
The FIR has appointed 53-year-old Roberto Manghi as Director of Rugby. Manghi, who moves from Rugby Reggio in the 2011/2012 Eccellenza championship, was formerly General Manager with Gran Parma and Rugby Parma, reaching the Eccellenza semifinals with both clubs.
Christian Gajan has been appointed Technical Director on the recommendation of Italy head coach, Jacques Brunel.
The 53-year-old Fenchman has a strong knowledge of Italian rugby having coached Benetton Treviso from 1998 to 2000 and Venezia Mestre during the 2008/09 season.
Gajan also coached Toulouse and Castres Olympique, winning the European Shield in 2003 with Castres, and he will be assisted by Vincenzo Troiani and Alessandro Troncon as coaches.
Troiani coached Italy Under-18 and Italy Under-20 and was part of the technical staff at the Under-20 and Under-18 National Academies.
Troncon, the all-time most capped Italian player with 101 appearances, retired in 2007 and was then appointed as Italy backs coach, a position he held until the end of the 2012 RBS 6 Nations.
The 81-times capped Fabio Ongaro has retired as a player and has been appointed as Zebre’s team manager.