Stadio Luigi Ferraris up for grabs


Genova Stadio Luigi Ferraris Image:

Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa, Italy, is up for sale. This information was given by the Mayor of Genoa, Marco Bucci, while also raising the possibility of building a new football stadium in the Italian city.

Stadio Luigi Ferraris which can sit 36,000 spectators is the residence of Serie A football clubs Genoa and Sampdoria and is a multiuse facility. It is currently owned by the Municipality of Genoa but Bucci said that offers for the stadium will be taken into consideration.

Sampdoria Genoa is Italian professional football clubs based in Genoa, Italy.

Genoa has been playing at the stadium since it opened its doors in 1911. Sampdoria has called the stadium home since 1946. It was reported in 2018 that Sampdoria was negotiating to buy the stadium but the same did not materialize.

Bucci told mediapersons, “My position is simple: The stadium is for sale. Now, the owners of the Ferraris are the Genoese citizens who are asking for a significant investment to do many things. We are also willing to sell it to a company other than the two Serie A clubs of course, if it came up with a convincing proposal. And we are also able to evaluate projects that envisage the possible construction of another stadium.”

“Staying with the Ferraris, the ideal situation would be for Sampdoria and Genoa to buy the stadium or alternatively rent it for a long time so that they could invest in it. We need a stadium that can offer services and that can be a cutting-edge venue,” Bucci added.

The stadium, which is also known by the name Marassi, was one of the host venues at the 1990 FIFA World Cup™ in Italy.

The Mayor also pointed out that Stadio Luigi Ferraris is struggling to meet basic requirements these days. A €6-million revamp was carried out last year, making upgrades to the media zone, adding skyboxes and boosting the safety quotient. But, a lot remains to be done, expected to consume roughly €30 million. This means a lot of expense considering the fact that the current valuation of the asset stands at €18 million.

Even if Sampdoria and FC Genoa join hands, it might come short of such a commitment, going into nearly €50 million. So, the clubs went ahead and established a subsidiary (Luigi Ferraris SRL) to manage the venue.

The Mayor recently pulled up Luigi Ferraris SRL for not maintaining the stadium properly.

The city of Genoa and both Sampdoria and FC Genoa’s objective is to securing a long-term lease (for 90 years) of the facility as soon as the current one runs out in 2022. Within the new conditions, the clubs would take it upon themselves to invest in the stadium without having to pay for its purchase.

“We’re also willing to sell it to a company other than the two Genoese clubs of Serie A, of course if it came up with a convincing proposal. And we are also available to evaluate projects that envisage the possible construction of another stadium. Ideally, Sampdoria and Genoa would buy Ferraris or alternatively rent it for a long time so that they could invest in it,” the Mayor maintained.

However, from the Mayor’s statements it is not clear whether there lies the option of purchase by a third party or building a new stadium.

Stadio Luigi Ferraris rewind

The first stands of the stadium were built in 1911 and could hold up to 25,000 people. This means that ‘Marassi’ (after the district it lies in) is the oldest operating stadium in Italy. Back then, the stadium enjoyed a running track, but that was removed later.

Already, in 1920, Genoa started redeveloping the stadium to boast football pitch only. However, due to pecuniary pressure, the works weren’t finished until 1932. New stands (without corner sections) received patronage of war hero Luigi Ferraris, captain of Genoa’s squad from before WWI. His medal for valor was placed near the northern stand. The Main stand façade built back then has been kept to this day, integrated with the new stand.

Marassi was considered a modern venue during those days for which it hosted the 1934 World Cup. However, a humongous crowd did not attend the event. It was in 1982, when Sampdoria and Genoa met in their derby clash in front of 57,615 people, some 2,000 of whom didn’t pay for the tickets, the turnout was huge.

The stadium was repurposed once again in 1987-1989, allowing both clubs to host games during works. The refurbishment work of the stadium again allowed another World Cup game to be held in the venue, this time in 1990.

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