The Municipality of Naples has reportedly issued an ultimatum to its Serie A football club calling on it to settle a €4m (£3.49m/$4.55m) debt in order to continue using the Stadio San Paolo.
The news, reported by Italian newspaper La Repubblica, is the latest development in an ongoing battle between Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis and local authorities. La Repubblica said a draft agreement for a new five-year stadium deal has been put together, but added that a letter addressed to De Laurentiis from Naples sports executive Gerarda Vaccaro has requested the payment of €4m for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, as well as a further €2m for 2015-16.
The letter read: “We invite this company to pay the sum for which we are in default and will proceed to activate all procedures aimed at its recovery, even in forced form.”
La Repubblica said the letter essentially represents a notice of eviction. It added: “It will not escape that the satisfaction of what is required is the only circumstance that can guarantee, for the coming seasons, the availability of the city to grant the use of the stadium.”
Napoli’s outspoken leader has frequently clashed with local authorities over the 60,240-capacity San Paolo, which first opened in December 1959 but has received little improvement work since Italy hosted the 1990 FIFA World Cup.
The stadium is owned by the City of Naples and De Laurentiis is keen to renovate it. He has previously threatened to move Napoli’s UEFA Champions League games to the 58,000-seat Stadio San Nicola, home of Serie D team Bari, which he acquired last year.
La Repubblica said that, if signed, the San Paolo agreement will be backdated to July 1, 2018 and run through to June 30, 2023. The annual rental fee for Napoli would be a basic €850,000 per season compared to the previous €651,000, a fee that was deemed to put the municipality at a disadvantage.
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