Italy PM promises to help clubs renew stadiums

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has promised that he will appeal to the country’s parliament next year to allow Italian football clubs to improve their stadiums.

In what has been a long-standing issue in Italy, the latest promise suggests that there will be genuine assistance provided to clubs who have been restricted in their ability to build their own stadia.

Juventus are currently the only club to privately own their own stadium, with Udinese are set to follow suit by renovating the Stadio Friuli.

Meanwhile, Lazio, Roma,  Milan,  Milan and Sampdoria are just five clubs who have expressed their desire to build new grounds. However, their efforts thus far have been thwarted due to the confrontation with local councils who own the stadia, who have been unwilling to fund improvements.

“I want to have the final word on a long-standing stadium problem,” Letta is quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“There will be an amendment drawn up in the stability plan which will define this issue once and for all, and I will be inviting the parliament to approve it.

“This is the appeal I will be making to parliament: from Jan. 1, we need new laws for more modern stadia without any barriers.”

Clubs have long complained that the state of the stadia is fostering hooliganism, deterring families from attending football matches and in terms of revenue, making Italian clubs fall behind their European counterparts.

Meanwhile, Italian National Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago has called upon the Lega to allow children to replace ‘ultras’ in cases where there has been a partial closure of the stadium.

“Opening all of the Curva closed due to racism and letting only children in is a fantastic idea,” Malago said. “We need the clubs and the Lega (Serie A) to look into this from a regulatory point of view, but I like the idea a lot.

“It would be a great signal. It would be like when we confiscated assets from the Mafia.”