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Italian football stakeholders buoyed by passage of ‘Sbloccastadi’

Fiorentina and Lega Serie A CEO Luigi De Siervo are among those who have hailed the official ratification of new legislation designed to aid the development of sports infrastructure in Italy.

The so-called ‘Sbloccastadi’, or stadium unblocker legislation, was approved by the Senate earlier this month and has now been voted through by parliament. 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.

Previously, rules that considered any structure older than 20 years to be one of architectural significance had hindered stadium development. The revised law will focus on sports facilities with a capacity of over 5,000.

It will make it possible to overcome some landscape and architectural requirements imposed by superintendents, who will have the chance to voice their opinions on a project, but within a limited time window. Redevelopment projects will now be assessed with a different focus – first on safety and sustainability goals, and then factors relating to conservation and historical value.

“The favourable passage… marks a big step towards the modernisation or construction of new stadia in our country,” De Siervo said, according to the Calcio e Finanza website. “Lighter procedures will allow Italian football to finally embark on a path that will bring us to the level of our European competitors in terms of infrastructure, with modern and avant-garde stadiums housing the matches. I thank parliament and those who have worked hard to bring this fundamental measure, necessary for the growth of our organisation, to completion.”

Serie A club Fiorentina is one of a number of Italian teams that have been engaged in long-running efforts to enhance their stadia. 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.

Reacting to the new legislation, Fiorentina said in a statement: “(President) Rocco Commisso and the Viola club have already taken to heart this necessary reform since June last year which, with the help of the new law, will hopefully contribute to the growth of the Italian football system and to make it competitive again in Europe and in the world.

“In the next few days all the application aspects will be analysed in detail so that Fiorentina can better understand the new possibilities on which they can count to build a new stadium in Florence.

“The key points already expressed on 6 June 2020 by Rocco Commisso regarding a possible new stadium in place of the current Artemio Franchi (pictured) remain unchanged, i.e. the responsibility of the project, including the control by those who invest, the certainty of the right timeframes and the concrete possibility of creating a new modern and functional stadium that the City of Florence and all the fans of the Viola team deserve.”

Image: Fiorentina