Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Roma plan new stadium

Roma have announced detailed plans to build a brand new stadium using the English model for football stadia in the city's iconic via Aurelia area.

The club currently share the Stadio Olimpico with city rivals Lazio but want to build their own 55,000-seater stadium, named after former President Franco Sensi, to increase much-needed revenue and bring fans closer to the pitch.

"My father Franco Sensi and Dino Viola had put the ownership of a new stadium at the centre of their plans. Today, it is at the point of arrival," Rosella Sensi announced.

"Our gamble is to build a ground for the family. We need a stadium that can be enjoyed before and after the game in total security.

"The Italian clubs play with a handicap because of the little earning power of our stadiums. Abroad there are different situations. Looking to the future, we could lose a place in the Champions League. We have a realistic project, which we have worked hard for. We looked for a place [to build the ground] and we have found it.

"There were many different hypotheses and we made investigations on the market. There were choices of a technical and corporate character. We have listened to experts from around the world as well as our own supporters and sympathisers - 99 per cent of them asked to be able to see the game better," Sensi added.

The Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, gave Roma the green light to proceed with the plans.

"From a judicial point of view it's positive. Roma have the right to have a privately owned stadium and it is opportune that they have one," he said.

"This project has to be listened to. The Olimpico has not been built for football. Notwithstanding the innovations, you still can't see very well."

Most Italian clubs rent stadiums from their city councils, meaning they have lost out on revenue and suffer in European competition compared to English and Spanish sides who own their grounds.

Juventus are the first Serie A club to build their own stadium, with completion due in 2011, while Cagliari, Inter, Lazio and Sampdoria are keen to move away from their current stadiums.

The regeneration of stadiums will be speeded up as Italy are putting a bid together to host the 2016 UEFA European Championships.

Source: Reuters

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