Italian Serie A football club AS Roma has maintained its Stadio della Roma project will proceed as planned, despite a wave of arrests in the Italian capital amid a corruption probe concerning the development of the new stadium.
Italian news agency ANSA said the Vice-President of the Lazio Regional Assembly, Forza Italia (FI) member Adriano Palozzi, construction businessman Luca Parnasi and Luca Lanzalone, president of water and energy utility ACEA, were among nine people arrested by police yesterday (Wednesday).
A total of 16 people are under investigation as prosecutors look into alleged corrupt acts committed during a revision of the original stadium plan, which was approved in February 2017. Investigators have said that neither Mayor Virginia Raggi or Roma are under suspicion. “Those who have done wrong will pay, we are on the side of law and order,” Raggi said.
Roma’s American president, Jim Pallotta, maintained the Stadio della Roma will move forward without issue, adding that none of the nine individuals arrested are club employees. “We’re saddened and dismayed by the allegations and arrests,” Pallotta said. “As the prosecutor categorically stated earlier, AS Roma has nothing to do with this.
“Also, contrary to what was reported in some places, the arrests do not involve the stadium contractor for Stadio della Roma and are actually nothing to do with the construction of the stadium or the entertainment complex. Now we fully expect to move forward with the project and we are not expecting any substantial delays.”
In December, Roma’s stadium plans were given the green light by the city and region’s four main governing bodies, paving the way for the club to begin working on the project. Roma Capitale, the Metropolitan City, the Region of Lazio and the government gave the project the go-ahead on December 5.
Since the Stadio della Roma project was first revealed in February 2012, it has been beset by delays at government level. However, the Rome City Council in June approved a resolution that the project was in the public interest after alterations were made to the initial plan.
The 52,500-capacity stadium will serve as the hub of the wide-ranging Stadio della Roma-Tor di Valle project, which will also feature a training complex, entertainment areas, bars and restaurants. Roma plans to move into the stadium in time for the 2020-21 season.
According to ANSA, Pallotta yesterday maintained he will sell the club if the stadium project is cancelled or delayed significantly. “Roma have done everything right,” he said. “The stadium must go ahead. I don’t see why it shouldn’t. If the project is halted, see you in Boston.”
Image: AS Roma