Tuesday August 8 2017
Serie A’s stadium issues

It was officially confirmed today that Atalanta now own their stadium, and are free to redevelop it, but historically that hasn’t been easy in Italy.

Most grounds in Serie A are owned by local councils rather than the clubs, with many built or redeveloped to host the World Cup in 1990.

After 27 years, many of these arenas are in dire need of modernisation, but clubs have struggled to get projects off the ground.

Turin’s Stadio delle Alpi was built specially for Italia 90, and was initially shared by both Juventus and Torino.

However, a running track around the outside meant the top tribunes were far too far away from the pitch and the wind swirled around the concrete bowl.

Unhappy with the situation, Juve bought the ground from the Turin council in 2003, and finally opened the Juventus Stadium in 2011.

Sassuolo also own their Mapei Stadium, controversially buying the stadium which had traditionally belonged to Reggiana, but taken over by the city after their bankruptcy and refounding.

Udinese took over a 99-year lease of the Stadio Friuli in 2012, and officially opened the redeveloped Dacia Arena in January 2015.

Other clubs have found things even more difficult than Juve did though, with Roma currently battling red tape and political resistance as they look to build an arena of their own.

The Giallorossi aim to build the Stadio della Roma in the Tor di Valle area of the city, with the project launched by American owner James Pallotta after his takeover in 2011.

Several dates were given for breaking ground, but after an initial plan was rejected, and while changes were made and the plans resubmitted, it’s far from clear that the new plans will be approved.

Fiorentina have also submitted plans for a new ground, having first unveiled the project in 2014, but so far there has been precious little progress.

Milan won the right to build a new arena in the Portello area of the city, with the idea that Inter would then take ownership of San Siro.

The Rossoneri soon got into a dispute with Fondazione Fiera, the owners of the land, and then-President Silvio Berlusconi scrapped the idea.

Both Milan clubs are now owned by Chinese investors, who have recognised the need for a solution, but no further plans have been made, save renovations on San Siro for the 2016 Champions League final.

Napoli have fared no better, with President Aurelio De Laurentiis describing the San Paolo as “an absolute toilet”.

The Partenopei patron wants a new 20,000-seater San Paolo which would be “like a theatre”.

However, the city council believe the €20m being offered to buy the existing stadium is not enough, with De Laurentiis declaring “they should give it to me for free, instead they make me pay stratospheric rent”.

Palermo and Cagliari are  among the other clubs hoping to construct new stadiums, but Italian red tape has made it supremely difficult for the clubs to modernise their grounds.

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