Roma drops plans for Tor di Valle stadium

Italian Serie A football club AS Roma has dropped plans for a new stadium in the Tor di Valle neighbourhood of the city.

Roma made the announcement on Friday when releasing its financial results for the first half of the 2020-21 season. Roma said the decision was made by the board of directors in the interest of the club.

Roma has long held plans for a new stadium in Tor di Valle but a change in ownership at the club last year cast fresh doubt over the project. Following Friday’s announcement, the club said it is still committed to exploring options for a new stadium at a number of sites.

Roma said in a statement: “The investigations conducted by financial, notary and legal advisors, as well as in the light of the latest communications from Rome, verified that the conditions no longer exist to confirm the interest in use of the stadium to be built as part of the current real estate project relating to the Tor di Valle area, since the latter project has become impossible to execute.

“The board of directors – after examining the analyses carried out by the advisors regarding the financial, economic, legal and factual conditions of the project and its proponent – acknowledged that these conditions prevent further progress.

“The board of directors also noted that the pandemic has radically changed the international economic scenario, including the financial prospects of the current stadium project.”

In August, billionaire Dan Friedkin, who serves as chairman and chief executive of The Friedkin Group, agreed a deal to purchase Roma from fellow American James Pallotta, who bought the club in 2012. Roma confirmed that the value of the deal was approximately €591m (£510m/$712m).

The Stadio della Roma project was central to Pallotta’s long-held vision for the club, which currently shares the Stadio Olimpico with cross-city rival Lazio. The project, which was first put forward in February 2012, centred on a 52,500-seat stadium but was hit by a number of delays.

The project had been given the green light by the city and the region’s four main governing bodies in December 2017 but still required further approval.

The project took a fresh twist in October after the company which owns the land on which the stadium was proposed to be built was sold. Italian financial services company UniCredit approved the sale of the group of companies controlled by Italian businessman Luca Parnasi to CPI Property Group, a Luxembourg-headquartered commercial real estate firm owned by Czech billionaire Radovan Vitek.

At the time, it was said that the news would make it easier for the Municipality of Rome to give the official green light to the Stadio della Roma project, but this has not been the case as The Friedkin Group looks to weigh up alternative sites.

Following Friday’s announcement, Pallotta posted on Twitter: “I feel terrible for the city of Rome and Roma. A few jackasses (you know who you are) ruined a great project for all. Sad.”

Image: Stadio della Roma