Virginia Raggi, the Mayor of Rome, has said that there is a “political desire” to move forward with AS Roma’s plans to build a state-of-the-art new stadium.

The Serie A football club’s Stadio della Roma project was first put forward in February 2012 but it has since been beset by delays at government level.

In December 2017, the project, which centres on a 52,500-capacity stadium, was given the green light by the city and region’s four main governing bodies.

The project will also feature a training complex, entertainment areas, bars and restaurants, and Raggi is keen to press on with work this year.

“There is a political desire to push forward with the Tor di Valle stadium project as soon as possible,” Raggi told the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper when asked if 2019 would be the year that the project breaks ground.

“We are working hard with this objective in mind, while respecting all laws and the best interests of the community.”

Last October, it emerged that 20 people face being ordered to stand trial for alleged corruption amid the scandal surrounding the development of the stadium.

Italian news agency ANSA said at the time that the stadium’s main contractor, Luca Parnasi, was one of the key figureheads likely to face trial with prosecutors alleging that he led a network that committed a “series of felonies against public governance in order to maintain decisions favourable to the building of Roma’s stadium and other projects.”

Raggi has now moved to clarify the situation regarding the corruption allegations. “The investigators stated clearly that the inquiry did not involve any administrative documents relating to the stadium,” she said.

“Nevertheless, I immediately requested that due diligence was done on the entire process – because we want to move forward with this project in an open and legal way.”

Raggi also expressed her confidence that the latest public works plans drawn up for the project will meet the necessary requirements. When asked whether plans outlined in the second version of the stadium vision will be enough, she told Gazzetta dello Sport: “According to all the departments, yes. And I certainly hope so.

“But I have asked for further reports and clarifications because I want to be certain that, once the stadium is built, everything works as it should. The fans and the residents of the city must be proud of this project. And soon they will be.

“With the updated project we will bring together two very important roads, Via Ostiense and Via del Mare – something that has been decades in the making. There is also another interesting addition: bringing Fosso di Vallerano up to safety standards. This is an inhabited area that often floods when it rains; we will solve an ongoing problem that was been affecting thousands of people for a number of decades.”

Raggi added: “First and foremost, I am waiting for the report I requested from the Politecnico di Torino – after that we will think about the urban planning variation. It is not a legal requirement but I thought that, after everything we have read in the media, the citizens deserved further analysis.

“There are still a few open questions: for example, I still believe that we need to invest more in the Roma-Lido railway line that connects the city centre to Ostia. That project would be even more useful for the city. Lazio Regione own the line and, for about three years now, has had 180 million euros to modernise that specific stretch of it – and it still has not been spent.”

Image: AS Roma