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Design & Development

Napoli owner ends Bagnoli stadium vision

Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Naples, Italy

Featured image credit: Joris/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size

Napoli owner and president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, has dropped a proposal to develop a new 60,000-seat stadium, stating that he and the Italian Serie A football club will refocus efforts on redeveloping the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

De Laurentiis created headlines in March by declaring that a plan had been drawn up for Napoli to move to a new stadium in the Bagnoli quarter of Naples, adding that such a project could be delivered in adequate time for the facility to be a host venue during UEFA Euro 2032.

Mayor of Naples, Gaetano Manfredi, subsequently cooled such talk, insisting that the immediate focus would be on renovating the club’s current home. Speaking yesterday (Thursday), De Laurentiis said his Bagnoli vision is now over, citing the limitations and challenges presented by the site.

De Laurentiis said, according to Ansa: “About the new stadium in Bagnoli I asked myself a series of questions and I thought – what makes me go to such a problematic area? I would enter a context of chaos with bulldozers and trucks, and then risk evicting 50,000 people from the stadium if bradyseism occurs.”

Formerly known as Stadio San Paolo, the Maradona, named after the Napoli and Argentina football legend, first opened in 1959 and has a current capacity of over 54,000. However, De Laurentiis has long been displeased over Napoli’s situation at the stadium and has been in disputes with a succession of the Campania capital’s leaders.

He returned to this topic while stating that the club is seeking to accelerate plans to improve the Maradona. “I called my architects and said that I want to take two years to renovate the Maradona,” said De Laurentiis. “I will obviously focus on Maradona to be transformed, as long as Mayor Manfredi comes to the table, because he is never there.”

De Laurentiis continued: “With the Municipality of Naples I have always had to make a gigantic effort. I know that we were the winning part of the Maradona stadium, thanks to which we brought Naples to the centre of Europe.

“But it is delivered to me a few hours before each match and then immediately afterwards it has to be returned, and we pay rent as high as that which PSG pays in Paris.

“Now we need the work, I’ll put my money into it, but they have to sign a blank authorisation document, because if someone comes to stop us while we’re doing the work I’ll get up, leave and they’ll never see me in this city again.”