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Fresh developments for stadium projects in Cagliari, Rome and Verona

Cagliari has won key city approval for its new stadium plans, while fellow Italian Serie A football club AS Roma has spelled out the latest timeline for its new home and plans have been presented for a new facility in Verona.

In April 2018, Cagliari selected a proposal from Sportium to develop its new stadium but has since been forced to revise its plans amid the Italian Football Federation’s (FIGC) proposed bid for UEFA Euro 2024.

Cagliari has been playing at the temporary Sardegna Arena (pictured) since the 2017-18 season after its Stadio Sant’Elia was closed with a view to being demolished and completely rebuilt. Cagliari had initially targeted a 21,000-seat stadium, but the city council yesterday (Thursday) voted in favour of advancing a new vision.

This will involve the development of a 25,200-seat venue that could be expanded to 30,000. After approval by the municipality, the club will now be required to present the final design after which a tender for the construction contract can be launched.

The approval is one of the final acts of Mayor Massimo Zedda’s administration. He said, according to the Sardinia Post newspaper: “After the guiding project there will be the executive project of the company, then the municipality will take over the project and promote an international tender. Then there will be the awarding and identification of the concessionaire who will manage the stadium for 50 years, with the property owned by the municipality.”

Regarding the change of plan for the stadium, Zedda added: “The UEFA Executive Committee sent a note reviewing the criteria for nations that want to host Euros asking to have nine to 10 stadiums in all with one of at least 60,000 capacity, two with at least 50,000, three with at least 40,000 and four with at least 30,000 seats. At that point, with two notes from November 21 and 27, Cagliari Calcio explained to the municipality this desire to reach 30,000 seats.”

Reacting to yesterday’s decision, club president Tommaso Giulini said on Twitter: “Another important step towards our dream, that of Cagliari and all Sardinians. With even more commitment we continue to work to present the definitive #lanostraCasa project.”

Meanwhile, Roma president James Pallotta has expressed his hope that the club’s embattled stadium project will be completed by 2023. The US businessman has frequently expressed his frustration at the long-delayed project, which was hit by another major blow earlier this month.

The arrest of four people, including a senior local politician, caused major headlines in Italy. The headline name from the raids was Marcello De Vito, President of the Municipal Council of Rome and effectively second in command to Mayor Virginia Raggi.

De Vito was arrested on charges of corruption. Prosecutors Barbara Zuin and Luigia Spinelli have alleged that De Vito accepted bribes both directly and indirectly from Luca Parnasi, formerly a key partner for the Stadio della Roma, in exchange for favouring Parnasi’s project within Raggi’s Five Star Movement (M5S) city council.

Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport, citing Real Vision, quoted Pallotta as stating: “I hope everything is done by the end of May and we can start building at the end of the year. After that, it’ll take 28 months to open.”

Meanwhile, in Verona the municipal council has been presented with a proposal to demolish the Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi and replace it with a new 27,000-seat stadium. The Corriere del Veneto newspaper said the proposal, backed by Serie B team Hellas Verona but not Serie A outfit Chievo, is expected to be approved.

The Nuova Arena Stadio project will reportedly include a retractable roof, with the site making room for an urban park, hotels, shops, offices, a gym and a theatre. The newspaper added that Hellas and Chievo are likely to play at a temporary stadium whilst the new facility is developed on the site of the Bentegodi.

The project will reportedly take around two years to complete at a cost of approximately €100m (£85.7m/$112.3m).

Image: Cagliari Calcio