Fans to return for Coppa Italia final, Atalanta set to complete stadium project

Italian football fans are set to return to the stadium after the government gave the green light for attendance at next month’s Coppa Italia final, while Serie A club Atalanta has outlined the final phase of its redevelopment project for Gewiss Stadium.

Atalanta will take on Juventus in this season’s Coppa Italia final, which will be held at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia, home to Serie A club Sassuolo, on May 19. Mapei Stadium was awarded the hosting rights earlier this month, with the game marking the first time since 2007 that a city other than Rome has hosted the final of the competition.

Mapei Stadium has a capacity of 21,000 and the government has approved attendance for the Coppa Italia final at 20%, roughly equating to 4,300 fans. Fans have been prevented from attending matches for the majority of the past year due to COVID-19, aside from a short spell at the start of the 2020-21 season when up to 1,000 spectators were admitted to stadia.

Lega Serie A president, Paolo Dal Pino, said: “We thank the government for having heard our request to let fans return for the Coppa Italia final, it’s a sign we all needed that we’re heading back to normality. We remain confident that we can open stadiums to 1,000 spectators in complete safety for the last matches of the season.”

Italy’s Technical Scientific Committee (CTS) is set to decide on protocols for the event today (Friday), with the reopening also extending to the forthcoming Internazionali d’Italia tennis tournament. An ATP Masters 1000 and WTA 1000 event, this year’s Internazionali d’Italia in Rome is due to run from May 8-16, with fans to be permitted entry on the final day.

The latest reopening news comes after it was confirmed earlier this month that Rome had retained its hosting rights to UEFA Euro 2020 after Italian authorities agreed to a plan that would allow at least 18,000 fans to attend games at the Stadio Olimpico.

Andrea Costa, the government’s Undersecretary for Health, said: “After giving the go-ahead to the Euros with the equivalent of 25% of fans, I supported from the beginning the possibility of allowing a smaller percentage of fans at other sporting events.

“These will be important tests with a view to the European Championship matches. A fundamental sign for the whole world of sport, which will once again lead the way in indicating the dates for a gradual return to normal life.”

Meanwhile, Atalanta has spelled out how it will complete the redevelopment of Gewiss Stadium. The third and final phase of the project, carried out in association with the Municipality of Bergamo, is set to commence by September.

After the redevelopment of the Pisani and Rinascimento stands, Atalanta has stated the final phase will last several months, with work to be conducted whilst the club is playing games at Gewiss Stadium, meaning it will not have to relocate to other stadia in northern Italy.

The final elements of the project will boost the stadium’s capacity up to 25,000, introduce a new underground car park and develop a new square outside the stadium, enhancing the appearance of the local area for the general public.

In August, Atalanta signed a wide-ranging partnership with banking group Intesa Sanpaolo that covered sponsorship rights and financing of the club’s stadium project. Commenting on the final phase of the work, Atlanta president, Antonio Percassi, said: “A great collaboration and great coordination work have allowed us, in very short time and space, to create first the new Curva Nord Pisani and then the Tribuna Rinascimento. 

“Now it is the turn of the Curva Sud Morosini, which will also make it possible to redevelop the spaces adjacent to the same stand that the city, but in particular the neighbourhood, will have available.”

Image: Atalanta