As the Six Nations rugby tournament looms, the age-old controversy surrounding the future of the Flaminio stadium as the home of Italian rugby has reared its head again. The city of Rome and the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) had long ago promised to undertake large-scale refurbishment of the stadium which would see its capacity raised from 25,000 seats to 48,000.
Although both sides are keen to commence the building project which would bring the stadium to international standards, so far there have been few signs of work beginning. A meeting to discuss the issues is scheduled on 1 February when it is hoped a definitive agreement can be reached. If so, work could commence in 2012.
The FIR president Giancarlo Dondi threatened that if Flaminio is not refurbished and ready by 2013, the Italian national team would be forced to seek another home. This could in theory see the squad leave the capital. Using the city's other venue, the Olympic Stadium, would present great difficulties seeing as it is already the home stadium of football teams AS Roma and Lazio.
The smallest of the Six Nations stadiums, Flaminio has a capacity of about 25,000 however for this year's tournament it will host 30,000 thanks to recently-installed mobile stages.
Italy's first Six Nations match takes place on 5 February when they take on Ireland, then Wales on 26 February and France on 12 March, all three matches in Stadio Flaminio.
The away matches are on 12 February when Italy plays England at Twickenham and then Scotland at Murrayfield on 19 March.