Italian stadium market given legislation boost

The Italian stadium market is set to be boosted after parliament approved amendments to regulations governing the redevelopment of existing venues, news that could aid a proposal to overhaul Stadio Artemio Franchi, home of Serie A club Fiorentina.

Football club executives have long bemoaned the red tape surrounding stadium development in Italy, but politicians have now agreed on revisions to regulations concerning work connected to stadia deemed to be of architectural and historical value.

The Corriere dello Sport newspaper said the Italia Viva and Democratic Party (PD) agreed on amendments to the legislation, with an official green light expected to be a formality. Three key amendments are said to have been made, chiefly the allowance to redevelop a stadium with a view to its “best usability”, even in the face of perceived architectural or cultural value.

Historic venues are now set to be permitted to adapt to international standards, such as bringing stands closer to the pitch. Meanwhile, while the “symbolic value” of a stadium will still be recognised, this will take a back seat to the “need to guarantee the functionality of the stadium” and the “economic-financial sustainability of the stadium”.

The amendments have been propelled by Matteo Renzi, former Prime Minister of Italy, leader of Italia Viva and Senator for Florence. The city council of Florence last month approved a resolution to pursue a redevelopment of Stadio Artemio Franchi through wider development of the Campo di Marte area in which the stadium is located.

Mayor Dario Nardella said the resolution aimed to “give a signal of concreteness and speed” to the “construction of a new stadium in the city”, following the collapse earlier this year of a plan to build a new venue at the Mercafir site.

“It is good that our colleagues of the Democratic Party and the Lega have signed up to our proposal which aims to streamline the procedures for restructuring sports facilities, in a logical (step) that will have the exclusive advantage for citizens,” Renzi said, according to La Repubblica Firenze.

“It is a positive agreement that marks a turning point and I hope that there can be the widest agreement by all political forces so that a principle of common sense is passed, that is stadium renovations are not subject to incredible constraints.”

Responding to the news, Nardella said: “The work of the majority parliamentary forces from PD and IV to arrive at a shared text of amendment… for the stadiums is an important goal, a significant step for the restyling of the Franchi stadium and for the good of Florence, which comes before everything else.”

Image: Fiorentina