‘Sbloccastadi’ boost to Italy stadia revamp


Italy change of law for stadium builds Image: Sapeur OSB

The official ratification of a new legislation designed to give a shot in the arm to the development of sports infrastructure in Italy was welcomed among others by the Italian football club Fiorentina and Lega Serie A (top Italian football league system) head honcho Luigi De Siervo.

The so-called ‘Sbloccastadi’, or stadium unblocker legislation, was given the green light by the Senate earlier this month and has now been voted through by Parliament. Red tapism has been a huge stumbling block in the development of stadium in Italy and the same has been lamented by football club executives. However, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel with politicians agreeing on revisions to regulations concerning work connected to stadia holding architectural and historical significance and files may no longer gather dust.

Earlier, rules that considered any structure older than 20 years to be one of architectural significance had come in the way of stadium development. The revised law will focus on sports facilities which can hold more than 5,000 spectators.

The revised law will also make it feasible to overcome few landscape and architectural requirements imposed by superintendents, who will have the chance to voice their opinions on a project, but within a limited time window. Rehabilitation projects will now be examined from a different angle and the focus will first be on safety and sustainability goals, and then factors relating to conservation and historical value.

Commented De Siervo, “The favorable passage… marks a big step towards the modernization or construction of new stadia in our country. Lighter procedures will allow Italian football to finally embark on a path that will bring us to the level of our European competitors in terms of infrastructure, with modern and avant-garde stadiums housing the matches. I thank Parliament and those who have worked hard to bring this fundamental measure, necessary for the growth of our organization, to completion.”

Serie A club Fiorentina is one among a number of Italian teams that have been engaged in long-running efforts to enhance their stadia. The City Council of Florence last month gave the nod to a resolution to pursue reconfiguration of Stadio Artemio Franchi through wider development of the Campo di Marte area in which the stadium sits.

Florence Mayor Dario Nardella said the resolution aimed to “give a signal of concreteness and speed” to the “construction of a new stadium in the City”, following the collapse earlier this year of a plan to build a new arena at the Mercafir site.

Reacting to the new legislation, Fiorentina sent out a statement, “(President) Rocco Commisso and the Viola club have already taken to heart this necessary reform since June last year which, with the help of the new law, will hopefully contribute to the growth of the Italian football system and to make it competitive again in Europe and in the world.”

The statement further read, “In the next few days all the application aspects will be analyzed in detail so that Fiorentina can better understand the new possibilities on which they can count to build a new stadium in Florence. The key points already expressed on June 6th, 2020, by Rocco Commisso regarding a possible new stadium in place of the current Artemio Franchi remain unchanged, i.e., the responsibility of the project, including the control by those who invest, the certainty of the right timeframes and the concrete possibility of creating a new modern and functional stadium that the City of Florence and all the fans of the Viola team deserve.”

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