Dario Nardella, the Mayor of Florence, has appointed UEFA vice-president Michele Uva as a special advisor amid ongoing efforts to resolve Italian Serie A football club Fiorentina’s stadium situation.
Fiorentina has played at the Stadio Artemio Franchi since it opened in 1931 and efforts to either redevelop the stadium, or build a new one, have intensified in recent weeks following the club’s takeover by Italian-American businessman Rocco Commisso.
Commisso last month agreed a deal to acquire Fiorentina from brothers Andrea and Diego Della Valle. In January, Nardella said that a new stadium could be ready by 2023. The club revealed details of a 40,000-seat stadium back in March 2017. At the time it was reported that the stadium would cost around €420m (£377m/$474.3m), but talks over the project had stalled.
Commisso has big ambitions for Fiorentina under his leadership and told SportBusiness.com following his takeover that he will focus on redeveloping the 43,000-seat Artemio Franchi to help put the club on a par with leading teams in Europe. “I have objectives to invest and win something in addition to investing in the infrastructure, including the existing stadium,” he said. “What’s lacking in Italy is the infrastructure. We need to improve it.”
Nardella has now revealed the appointment of Uva as special advisor for sports facilities. Vice-president of European football’s governing body since September 2017, Uva is a highly-regarded football executive and has previously served as CEO of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) and Fiorentina’s fellow Serie A clubs Parma and Lazio.
“It will help us to untangle the situation of the stadium, on which there is still no final decision,” Nardella said of Uva’s appointment, according to the Firenze Today website.
“He is one of the greatest stadium experts in Europe, he will help us analyse technical and financial aspects concerning the construction of the stadium. He does not replace our officials, he will be my direct personal advisor, on the stadium and on other large sports facilities that by the end of our mandate we could design.”
Nardella added that the “best solution” on Fiorentina’s stadium will be decided “relatively quickly”, maintaining that the club will remain in Florence. He said: “I would like to exclude the possibility that the stadium is in another municipality, absolutely.”