No PNRR funds for Italy major venue projects



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Stadiums in Florence and Venice loose funding Image: Venezia FC

The European Commission has barred Italy from directing almost €150m of COVID recovery funds towards major venue projects in Florence and Venice.

‘governo.it’ stated that Italy had designated €93.5m of European Union-backed National Recovery and Resilience Facility (PNRR) cash for the Bosco Dello Sport project in Venice, and €55m for the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Brussels (Belgium)-based the European Commission is part of the executive of the European Union, together with the European Council. It operates as a Cabinet Government, with 27 members of the Commission headed by a President. It includes an administrative body of about 32,000 European civil servants.

The European Union (EU) is a supranational political and economic union of 27 Member-States that are located primarily in Europe. The Union has a total area of 4,233,255 km² and an estimated total population of nearly 447 million.

The National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) outlines the objectives, reforms and investments that Italy intends to carry out through NextGenerationEU funds to mitigate the COVID-19 socio-economic impact and make Italy a fairer, Greener and more inclusive country, with a more competitive, dynamic and innovative economy.

The ‘Bosco dello Sport’ project (‘sporting forest’ project) will come up in Tessera (Italy) and along with the stadium and the indoor arena, will include the completion of a road network linking up the Ca’ Tessera Venice Airport, internal urbanization, landscape works, and an educational area.

The planned sports complex will comprise a football stadium, an indoor arena and will be abuzz with social activities with the sustainability factor weighing high on the overall scheme of things as the sports complex will be integrated into a Green area.

The 43,147-capacity Stadio Artemio Franchi is a football stadium in Florence, Italy. It is currently the home of the Serie A team ACF Fiorentina. The old nickname of the stadium was ‘Comunale’. When it was first constructed, it was known as the Stadio Giovanni Berta, after the Florentine fascist Giovanni Berta.

The Stadio Artemio Franchi revamp work has been mired in too much of red tape. In March this year, the Florence Mayor Dario Nardella confirmed that the City plans to refurbish the Stadio Artemio Franchi starting in Summer 2024, with the work expected to continue into 2026. The redevelopment price tag stands at €193.4m.

‘governo.it’ further stated that a statement issued by the Italian Government has confirmed that the above two projects cannot be the recipients of PNRR funds as per the European Commission directive.

The statement added, “The interventions of the Bosco dello Sport in Venice and the Franchi stadium in Florence cannot be reported at the value of the PNRR resources. The services of the Commission, in fact, following a further detailed investigation, confirmed the non-eligibility of both interventions in the context of the Integrated Urban Plans (IPP) of the respective Metropolitan Cities.”

The Commission is concerned whether the projects fit with the recovery plan’s goal to “regenerate, revitalize and enhance large degraded urban areas”.

On April 4th, the Government of Italy summoned the Mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, and the Mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, to discuss with the duo last-minute possibility of securing funds.

On April 21st, the European Commission, while appreciating the Government of Italy efforts on the stadium projects, informed that the above two developments cannot be allocated funds under the PNRR head.

The European Commission asked the Government to submit the requisite documents to facilitate the release of 19 billion euros for the above two venue projects. The Government will submit the documents soon to facilitate release of funds.

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