Ata­lanta get their own sta­dium

New Straits Times - - Sport -

MI­LAN: Berg­amo-based Ata­lanta joined the exclusive club of Serie A teams who own their own sta­dium when their of­fer for the Sta­dio Atleti Az­zurri d’Italia was ac­cepted on Wed­nes­day.

The city gov­ern­ment said in a state­ment that Ata­lanta had agreed to pay €8.6 mil­lion (RM42 mil­lion), 10 per cent more than the ini­tial ask­ing price, for the age­ing ground which was first opened in 1928 and is in need of mod­erni­sa­tion.

Ata­lanta be­came the fourth of the 20 cur­rent Serie A sides to own their sta­dium along­side Ju­ven­tus, Udi­nese and Sas­suolo.

Most of the re­main­der play in mu­nic­i­pally-owned sta­di­ums in­clud­ing AC Mi­lan and In­ter Mi­lan who share the San Siro.

Berg­amo’s city gov­ern­ment said the terms of the sale in­cluded a clause that the sta­dium, which has a ca­pac­ity of 26,500 and is mostly un­cov­ered, must be re­de­vel­oped within the next six years.

The pub­lic own­er­ship of sta­di­ums in Italy means that clubs are un­able to mod­ernise their fa­cil­i­ties and make money from mega-stores, restau­rants and mu­sic events, un­like their English and Ger­man coun­ter­parts.

AS Roma are cur­rently plan­ning their own 52,000-ca­pac­ity sta­dium while AC Mi­lan and In­ter Mi­lan both agree an al­ter­na­tive is needed to the cur­rent setup at the San Siro.

Turin-based Ju­ven­tus have flour­ished since re­plac­ing the over-sized Sta­dio delle Alpi, re­garded as soul­less by the club’s fans, with the smaller and more com­pact Ju­ven­tus Sta­dium on the same site in 2011.

Juve have won five suc­ces­sive Serie A ti­tles since open­ing the sta­dium and re­cently en­joyed a run of 33 suc­ces­sive home league wins.

Ata­lanta, who have never won Serie A, are fifth in the ta­ble this sea­son and well placed to qual­ify for the Europa League. Reuters

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