Rome backs AS Roma stadium

Rome Mayor recognises “public interest” in project

Rome has given its initial permission for the state-of-the-art new stadium for Italian Serie A football team AS Roma in the Tor di Valle southwest district of Rome.

The announcement came on 4 September following talks between the AS Roma president, Italo-American hedge fund manager Jim Pallotta, and Rome mayor Ignazio Marino, who described it as "a memorable day for the city."

The city adminstration said it recognises the “public interest” of the project and pledged to work towards allowing “at least 50 per cent of fans” to get there by public transport. To achieve this it is upgrading its public transport network, extending the Metro B line from Magliana to Tor di Valle, installing a walkway from Magliana train station to the stadium, and improving surrounding roads.

The €300-million stadium project now requires authorisation from the Lazio region, which has six months to evaluate the proposal, before receiving the final ok from Rome. Once approved construction will start, with a tentative completion date by the end of 2017.

The stadium will be privately financed and will have the capacity to seat 52,500 spectators, extending to 60,000 for major matches. Its three-tiered design by California-based architect Dan Meis is inspired by the Colosseum.

It has been designed specifically for football, with seating as close as possible to the pitch, as well as a 14,000-seat detached section behind one of the goals for the hard-core "ultra" supporters, replacing the Curva Sud from the Stadio Olimpico.

On completion of the new stadium, AS Roma will leave behind the 72,000-seat Olympic Stadium, which is located in north Rome and is also the home ground of rival football team Lazio.

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) which manages the facility is currently examining ways of generating the income it expects to lose along with the departure of AS Roma.

Central to its plan is to harness the growing enthusiasm for rugby in Italy whose national squad is now based at the Olympic Stadium. The team moved there in 2012 from the nearby Flaminio Stadium, ending an 11-year association with the 25,000-seater Flaminio stadium located in the same general area.

The Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) said that Flaminio was not up to international standards and made the decision to relocate after growing impatient with empty promises of redevelopment by the stadium administrators Fondazione Nervi.

More details on the Rome stadium project can be found on the mayor's website.