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Cagliari signs off on Costim deal for new stadium

Italian Serie A football club Cagliari has sealed a deal with industrial holding company Costim for its proposed new stadium, with an initial 25,000-seat facility being targeted for delivery for the 2025-26 season.

Costim and Cagliari have signed a new agreement, after one agreed in May 2021 which sanctioned the choice of Costim as general contractor and industrial partner. This provides for the joint investment needed to commence construction, through a new company that will be established in the event of the award of the public tender.

The newco will be 60% controlled by Cagliari, with Costim holding the remaining 40% stake. The total cost of the stadium, which will be expandable to 30,000 seats, is currently being projected at between €125m (£103.8m/$138.7m) and €130m.

Cagliari said it hopes to present the final project, with the financial plan, to local authorities before the end of the 2021-22 season. The timeline for the project, once the demolition of the old Stadio Sant’Elia begins next year, outlines 25 months of work until the new stadium’s inauguration.

Cagliari president, Tommaso Giulini, said: “The investment agreement with the Costim Group makes it possible to create what for simplicity we can call the Nuovo Stadio vehicle, and which will benefit from both the bank debt and the public grant for the construction of the work, together with the partnership with Unipol for naming rights.

“In the 50-year concession, after which the stadium will return to the Municipality of Cagliari, the objective will be to return the investment through the revenue lines provided for in the Progetto Definitivo. We are analysing everything in the best possible way because we cannot afford to make mistakes.

“We are talking about an important goal for the whole of Cagliari and the whole of Sardinia, the concepts of sustainability, Sardinians and technology will be cornerstones from the first day of this adventure.”

Cagliari has been playing at the temporary Sardegna Arena since the 2017-18 season after the Stadio Sant’Elia was closed with a view to being demolished and completely rebuilt. Cagliari in June received backing from the city council to proceed with plans for its new stadium, which will be delivered by Sportium and Manica Architecture.

The Sardinian club has been intent on expanding on the site of the Sant’Elia since 2015. Mayor of Cagliari, Paolo Truzzu, said: “My commitment has always been to give Cagliari and Sardinia a new stadium, inside the large Sant’Elia district, completely regenerated and reconnected to the city.

“We have built the path with great administrative attention and we are now taking another very important step. We will study the final project that Cagliari Calcio will deliver to us quickly, examining the economic-financial plan in detail and then launching the tender for the construction. If each of the protagonists respects the necessary terms and conditions, the works can start by the end of 2023. It is everyone’s will.”

Truzzu continued: “The stadium takes on immense value if strictly connected to the redevelopment of Sant’Elia, a place to be enjoyed all year round among social, cultural, sports, wellness and entertainment activities.

“It will be possible to create development, attractions, work and activities for the whole community. We have decided to replace the shopping centre originally planned to protect small traders.

“The area will have a modern and green vocation, we will develop activities related to technological innovation, science, culture and training, in close connection with the sports area of ​​Monte Mixi. We will therefore have a district connected to the city and a city intimately linked to the sea. Cagliari will be more modern, sustainable and beautiful.”

In July 2020, Cagliari partnered with Istituto per il Credito Sportivo to aid the financing of its stadium project. The Istituto operates in the credit sector for sport and culture projects and carries out consultancy work for public and private developments. It was appointed to attract investment to the Cagliari project, which includes the stadium and associated development of the surrounding area.

Francesco Percassi, president of Costim, said yesterday (Tuesday): “It is not just a contract, but a high-profile investment that comes from strong confidence in this project. Cagliari and Sardinia can be a reference in the trend of liveability and construction of new stadiums.

“We are proud and ambitious, like Cagliari Calcio and president Giulini, that in 50 years this work will continue to live in full efficiency and conditions of financial and environmental sustainability.”

Image: Sportium