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Napoli commits long-term future to San Paolo

Italian Serie A football club Napoli has signed a new lease agreement for the Stadio San Paolo, seemingly bringing an end to a period of tense relations with the Municipality of Naples.

Napoli has agreed a new five-year deal, with the option of extending this agreement for a further five years, potentially keeping the club at the stadium through to 2028. The contract was signed by Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis and the head of the Municipality’s Large Sports Facilities department, Gerarda Vaccaro.

In a statement, Napoli said: “Both the Municipality and SSC Napoli expressed their satisfaction at reaching a deal and stressed the importance of the extensive work done in recent years to achieve the agreement.”

Napoli will reportedly pay a fixed fee of €850,000 (£736,000/$948,000) per year to use the San Paolo, plus a further €50,000 from revenues related to the exploitation of advertising rights within the stadium. Italian news agency ANSA said the new deal includes the option to use the San Paolo for commercial activities and develop a football museum within its grounds, the latter of which De Laurentiis is keen on.

He said: “We will create a museum that will tell the story of Naples football but also the history of the city, because the two identities are linked. There will not only be historical football shirts, photos and videos, but also moments in the city of Naples.

“I’ve been thinking about it since I took Napoli but couldn’t find the right space, the right place is the Stadio San Paolo, the place where (Diego) Maradona, (Edinson) Cavani, (Marek) Hamsik, (Gonzalo) Higuain and (Dries) Mertens played.”

Last month saw Carlo Ancelotti, manager of Napoli, express his “outrage” at the state of the dressing rooms at the San Paolo in a strongly-worded statement directed at the local council. Napoli had been forced to play the first two league matches of the season away from home following renovation work at the San Paolo over the summer. The stadium hosted the Summer Universiade multi-sport event in July.

De Laurentiis said that while he appreciates the redevelopment that has been carried out, he still opposes the athletics track in place at the stadium. He added: “That is a trouble wanted… by the Municipality. Unfortunately, we are talking about money handled badly and thrown away. The investment could have been optimised by using it elsewhere.”

Image: SSC Napoli