The Municipality of Florence has approved a proposal to make a plot of land available for the potential development of a new stadium for Fiorentina, with the Serie A football club’s president, Rocco Commisso, hailing the news as an “important step forward”.
The Municipality has decided to put part of the Mercafir area, a food and beverage market in north-eastern Florence, up for sale with a view to the site being purchased for the development of a privately-financed stadium.
The Municipality said the decision seeks to speed up the process of the search for a new home for Fiorentina, without committing municipal resources to the future maintenance of the stadium. According to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Mayor Dario Nardella said that if the club commits to the plan a tender for the land could be launched in January.
At this point, Nardella said a new stadium in Florence could be ready “in 48 months in the Mercafir area”. Half of this time would be taken with the design of the stadium, with a two-year construction timeline envisioned.
Fiorentina has played at the Stadio Artemio Franchi since it opened in 1931 and the subject of a new stadium has been mooted for nearly a decade. However, efforts to either redevelop the facility or build a new stadium intensified after Fiorentina was taken over by Italian-American businessman Commisso in June.
Commenting on the Municipality’s announcement, Commisso said in a statement: “We learn with great favour the news coming from Florence. The Municipality and Mayor Nardella have taken an important step forward to allow those who want to invest in the area, like us at Fiorentina, to have certainty and clearer and more streamlined procedures.
“Concrete possibilities are beginning to be seen to realise an important work like the new Fiorentina stadium. We will continue our dialogue and meetings with the Municipality and their respective work teams so that we can proceed quickly.”
However, it is far from certain that Fiorentina will commit to the plan. The club is believed to be assessing the possibility of leaving the municipal territory of Florence to develop a new stadium in the commune of Campi Bisenzio.
Fresh plans were also put forward last month for the redevelopment of the Artemio Franchi that would involve the formation of a “stadium inside the stadium”. Nardella also touched on the future of the historic facility, should a new stadium be developed.
He said: “It will be possible to host new sports disciplines. I am thinking of rugby and athletics. We will ask the competent authorities for permission to do small works to redevelop the Franchi stadium, that serve to make it more accessible.”