Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Govt acts on stadium issues

The Italian government has pledged to help finance the reconstruction and revitalisation of stadia.

Under current circumstances the clubs only rent out the stadia from their local councils and the local police provide security.

Following the death of Chief Inspector Filippo Raciti in rioting in Catania and Lazio fan Gabriele Sandri shot by a stray policeman’s bullet while in a motorway service station, the tension between police and Ultras has reached critical levels.

One of the proposals put forward by the government is to force clubs to provide stewards inside the ground by March 1, 2008 or play behind closed doors.

This evening the Minister for Sport Giovanna Melandri announced plans for the immediate introduction of an agency dedicated to football stadia.

"We have to take immediate action," said Minister Melandri. "The plan has to set the foundations for a concerted activity where the primary role is played by the local councils. The full ownership of the stadia is charged to the councils."

Although Italy lost the chance to host the 2012 European Championships, they still have the 20m Euros set aside by the Government for the reconstruction of the arenas.

Present at the meeting were Undersecretary Giovanni Lolli, CONI Vice-President Luca Pancalli, President of the Credito Sportivo Andrea Cardinaletti, President of the FIGC Giancarlo Abete, Lega Calcio President Antonio Matarrese and Serie C President Mario Macalli.

"The Credito Sportivo will have a primary role in the path to transforming stadiums and we will give our contribution helped by our 50 years of experience in sporting finance," said Cardinaletti.

"For some time we have been dealing with the problems tied to improving stadiums and had specific studies on professional football and the models for avant-garde stadiums in terms of security and multi-functional uses."

Serie B and C have been halted for this weekend as a sign of mourning for slain fan Sandri, but Bologna President Alfredo Cazzola does not agree.

"It is nonsense, because we continue to follow the path of annulment rather than prevention. This way the violent figures win.

"They will soon ask us to keep the fans at home and not let them in, but this would be like ostriches burying their heads in the sand. It annuls the problem, but it is not a real method of resolving it."

Source: C4 Football Italia

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