Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini has revealed that the Italian football club’s new stadium will not feature additional commercial spaces as planned due to the economic climate caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Italy has recorded more than 15,000 deaths from COVID-19, with the country having entered lockdown on March 9. Serie A, like other major football leagues across Europe, is currently suspended and it remains unclear when the season will resume.

Cagliari hopes to begin work on its new stadium next year, with a tentative delivery date having been set for 2024. The 25,200-seat stadium will be built on the site of Stadio Sant’Elia, the club’s former home.

Cagliari has been playing at the temporary Sardegna Arena (pictured) since the 2017-18 season after the Stadio Sant’Elia was closed with a view to being demolished and completely rebuilt.

The new stadium site had been scheduled to incorporate commercial space and renovation work on the nearby canal but Giulini has announced plans to scale back this vision in light of COVID-19.

“I feel like saying that, in a time when we fear a recession and hope for a recovery, we cannot think of new commercial spaces,” Giulini said, according to Italian news agency ANSA. “Today we must support our traders, our small businesses.”

Cagliari’s plans for a new stadium were given the green light by the city council back in November. It came after the city council had previously voted in favour of advancing a new vision for a 25,200-seat stadium that can be expanded up to 30,000.

Image: Cagliari Calcio