Lecce has outlined renovation plans to bring its Stadio Via del Mare up to Serie A standards and has revealed it is in talks with ticketing company Vivaticket to explore further improvements.
Lecce last played in the top tier of Italian club football in the 2011-12 season, but will return in 2019-20 after securing back-to-back promotions. The team finished second in Serie B and therefore needs to implement improvements so it can stage Serie A football.
In a press conference on Saturday, Lecce president Saverio Sticchi Damiani gave assurances that the key improvements will be made in time for its opening game and that it would not need to find a temporary home.
Amongst the improvements are new seats in different areas of the stadium, an enhanced floodlight system, replacement of railings that separate the stands from the pitch with a plexiglass barrier system and renovation of the area for disabled fans and all toilet facilities in the stadium.
The Stadio Via del Mare first opened in September 1966 and currently holds around 29,000 fans. Looking to the future, Sticchi Damiani said talks with Vivaticket would see the company participate in renovations designed to make the stadium suitable to host music concerts and entertainment events.
“The maintenance work is continuing at a fast pace and we’ll be ready for the start of the season,” said Sticchi Damiani. “The cost of the project is being taken on by the club and, as soon as possible, we’ll ask for a meeting with the local council to discuss joint administration of the stadium.
“As things stand, we are unable to build spaces dedicated to commercial areas or restaurants, so the only alternative business plan would be making the stadium more suited to hosting concerts and events.
“We also wanted to completely reconstruct the section reserved for disabled fans. It wasn’t mandated by the regulations, we simply did it for our own good conscience because we felt it needed to be made more comfortable and hospitable.”
Sticchi Damiani also discussed how participation in Taranto’s bid for the 2025 Mediterranean Games could lead to further improvements to the stadium. The Stadio Via del Mare is being lined up to host football and other events if the coastal city secures the multi-sport Games.
Sticchi Damiani added: “Through this we would have a further possibility to modernise our stadium with a development that would grant total coverage of the stands in a homogeneous way.”
Image: U.S. Lecce