Italian Serie A football club Bologna has presented plans for the stadium that will be its temporary home whilst redevelopment work is carried out on the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.
Bologna initially revealed details behind its temporary stadium project after presenting plans to the Municipality of Bologna back in July 2021. The venue is set to be situated on land owned by the Municipality surrounding the Agri-Food Centre of Bologna (CAAB), a site which also houses FICO Eataly World, dubbed the world’s largest agri-food theme park.
This is said to be an ideal setting as it can take advantage of the proximity of already existing car parks and is infrastructurally equipped. The stadium is expected to have a capacity of over 16,000 seats, more than 2,000 of which will be covered, and its €12m (£10.4m/$13.3m) construction will be financed entirely by Bologna Stadio, a company formed by the club in February 2020 to oversee the Dall’Ara redevelopment.
The project foresees Bologna playing at the temporary stadium for the two seasons during which there will be redevelopment work at the Dall’Ara. Subsequently, the facility will be reduced in size to just over 2,000 seats, keeping the covered grandstand, to be used for youth football and the women’s team.
The works for the construction of the temporary stadium and the renovation of the Dall’Ara have been brought together in a single process and will go hand in hand. The next steps include the evaluation of the final design of the temporary stadium by means of a Services Conference and a call for proposals, to be held between the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024.
The objective is to get construction work for the temporary stadium started in the summer of 2024 and to complete it by the summer of 2025. Bologna would then play in the new facility in the 2025-26 and 2026-27 seasons.
The renovation of the Dall’Ara will begin in the summer of 2025 with the aim of opening it in the spring of 2027. At the expiration of a 10-year concession period, the new facility will become fully available to the city for sports usage, in addition to the potential hosting of events and shows suitable for its capacity.
Bologna CEO, Claudio Fenucci, said: “The construction operation of the temporary stadium is linked to the need to find an adequate structure in which the team can play league matches whilst the work is taking place at Dall’Ara since the planners ruled out the possibility of playing at the stadium whilst the work is carried out.
“The identification of a city area for the temporary stadium stems from the club’s strong desire, supported by the Municipal Administration, to not move the team to another city, despite the opportunities presented to us.
“It is a further significant but necessary investment to maintain the strong links between the club, the fans and the area. Moreover, the location near Fico will allow, in addition to ample parking, the ability to organise a series of initiatives dedicated to our fans before and after games to improve the matchday experience.”
In May 2021, Bologna delivered the final plan or the redevelopment of the Dall’Ara. The plan was filed by Bologna Stadio to the Municipality of Bologna, owner of the stadium, including changes requested for the project, plus financial guarantees.
Opened in 1927, the Dall’Ara underwent redevelopment for Italy’s staging of the 1990 FIFA World Cup. The latest project will seek to remove the superstructure introduced in the last renovation, scaling back the facility to create a fully-covered 30,000-seat stadium that has its stands closer to the pitch.
Work had been expected to start on the redevelopment of the Dall’Ara by the end of 2022, but has since been delayed. Stakeholders are now targeting a role for the new-look stadium in Italy’s bid to host UEFA Euro 2032.
Fenucci added: “We must commit ourselves to making this opportunity real. New resources would be desirable to make the operation more sustainable. And a regulatory intervention would be needed, but in the meantime we are going ahead with our process. Our city deserves to be among the stadiums funded for the European Championships.”