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Italy's AS Roma plans new stadium for 2016 season

Monday, 31 December 2012 - 6:48pm IST | Place: Milan | Agency: Reuters
Italian top-flight soccer team AS Roma hopes to be playing in its own brand-new stadium in four years' time as the loss-making club seeks to raise its profile and boost revenue.

Italian top-flight soccer team AS Roma hopes to be playing in its own brand-new stadium in four years' time as the loss-making club seeks to raise its profile and boost revenue.

AS Roma's plan comes after Juventus, currently top of Serie A, became the first top Italian club to own its own ground having built a 41,000-seat stadium instead of relying on the Stadio delle Alpi which it had to share with Torino.

Such purpose-built modern facilities could help Italy in any future bid to host either a World Cup or European Championship. AS Roma said on its web site the stadium, which will be privately financed and located in the southwest of the city, will have a seating capacity of between 55,000 and 60,000.

"It's been a long process but from the new ownership point of view we've been working on it for the last year. It shows our belief in Italy and the Italian economy," Roma President James Pallotta said in a comment.

AS Roma, currently sixth in Serie A, alternates with cross-city rival SS Lazio in borrowing the publicly-owned Stadio Olimpico venue for its games.

Public ownership of stadiums is common in Italy but leaves clubs unable to modernise their facilities and make money from mega-stores and restaurants, as do the likes of Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

AS Roma, captained by 36-year-old veteran Francesco Totti, was taken over by a group of U.S. investors in 2011. It raises less than 20 percent of its revenue from match-day receipts.

Italy's ageing stadiums have the second-lowest attendance among the "big five" European soccer leagues, with the English Premier League and Germany's Bundesliga out in front.

In a comment on the web site, Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno said he hoped the paperwork for the stadium would be completed in a year, or even sooner if a new stadium law was passed.

"The fact that a stadium will be built thanks to the efforts of American ownership is a powerful message for the marketing of our city," Alemanno said.

It was not clear how much the stadium would cost, but Claudio Fenucci, part of AS Roma's management team, said: "For every new stadium the cost of each seat is about 3,000 to 3,500 euros." Construction of the stadium is expected to employ around 1,000 people over 24 months.


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