Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso has expressed his disappointment over the lack of progress being made on a new stadium for the Italian Serie A football club.
Fiorentina has played at the Stadio Artemio Franchi (pictured) since it opened in 1931 and there has been talk of a new ground for nearly a decade. Efforts to either redevelop the stadium or build a new facility intensified last June after Italian-American businessman Commisso completed his takeover of the club.
In November, the Florence city council approved a plan for the development of land targeted for a new stadium in the Mercafir area, a food and beverage market in north-eastern Florence.
The proposal was put forward by Councillor for Urban Planning Cecilia Del Re and although it was adopted with 22 votes in favour, it received opposition from those concerned that options for the Artemio Franchi had not been properly considered.
The proposal came after fresh plans were put forward in September by architecture firm BCB Progetti that involved the formation of a “stadium inside the stadium”.
Commisso has now revealed that the Mercafir proposal is “not ideal” and has said the club is prepared to explore other avenues.
“Initially, we wanted to do things ‘fast, fast, fast’ in the Campo di Marte area,” Commisso said. “I have a good relationship with the Mayor, and nothing has changed – we still have a good relationship. We spoke about Mercafir, but it’s not ideal for us economically.
“The Mayor has been exceptional with us. But I need options – within the Municipality of Florence but also outside of it. I hope the Municipality can re-evaluate the situation – there are many ways to find a solution. The current cost of the Mercafir area is probably too high, but we can mitigate that with solutions around other costs.
“Up until now we’ve been working with the Mayor of Florence. From now on we’ll be evaluating other options. I’m disappointed. I’ve been reading about a new stadium in Florence for a decade and I thought they’d be further ahead. Now I’m coming to realise that it takes time to make things happen here.
“Our preference is to build a new comfortable, modern stadium so our fans can be treated like those of the top 20 teams in Europe. The money is there – we need to invest it and the bureaucracy needs to help us. The Fiorentina fans are important here in Florence, so I thought the Municipality would be ready to build a new stadium.”