We can criticize James Pallotta and the current ownership for a lot of things, but in their dealings with the City of Rome, they’ve been above reproach. Once the plans for the Stadio della Roma were released several years ago, it seemed a safe bet that, you know, it would have actually been built by now. Even accounting for the standard Italian political shenanigans, a five-year timeline seemed reasonable, but since when has reason ever ruled the roost in Rome?
After finding a site, selecting an architect, releasing the designs and submitting all the required documentation to the powers that be, it seemed like The House That Totti Built was ready to break ground in time for the projected fall 2017 opening. However, along the way the stadium project became embroiled in, shall we say, political chicanery. What once seemed like a formality was suddenly besieged with hydrogeological and community aesthetic concerns, standard, waylaying political bullshit.
With the club and city at loggerheads, it seemed as though today’s meeting was a make or break for the stadium, for the Pallotta ownership group, and indeed for the future of the club as a whole. With everyone from Francesco Totti to Radja Nainggolan and even UEFA itself voicing their support for the Stadio della Roma, it seemed as though public favor fell with the Giallorossi, as evidenced by the throngs of supporters protesting in and around city hall this evening as the two sides negotiated.
Well, if the reports trickling out now are true, it seems as though an accord has been reached; Roma can progress with the stadium at Tor di Valle, with one notable caveat, the business park/ancillary area around the stadium has to be cut by 50%. In other words, the actual volume of the project has to be halved, including the proposed bridge over the Tiber, which will probably be scrapped altogether. Now, had I been negotiating, I would have given Virginia Raggi whatever she wanted because I’m low key in love with her. But I digress.
At this stage in the game, we don’t know if this is something Pallotta can abide by, particularly not as those aforementioned geological and aesthetic concerns have magically disappeared, casting major doubt over the validity of the cities objections in the first place. As is so often the case with stadium developments, the bits and pieces around the stadium itself mean as much to the investors as the ground on which the matches will be played, so it remains to be seen if Pallotta will acquiesce on those concerns.
Now, before you go planning your Stadio della Roma wedding, slow your roll: this is far from over. More updates as they come available..
Updates: Uncle Jimmy has spoken
It has been a long, long journey - it almost feels like how it must have been for our Roman ancestors on their many campaigns.
But the next step on the journey is in front of us. First and foremost, I want to thank our fans: they are the best in the world.
Profound thanks also to the mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, the deputy mayor, Luca Bergamo, and the many other government officials involved in this process. Also thanks to Luca Parnasi and his team for their hard work.
Most of all, I want to thank Mauro Baldissoni and the entire Roma executive team - both in Rome and overseas - along with all the players and the coach.
This is an important evening for AS Roma. We look forward to building a stadium that the club, and the city, can showcase to the entire football world.
Update #2: Raggi Speaks
It’s a historic day...We’re very proud and happy for this agreement that improves the project and will allow the city to have something big that it must be proud of. It’s a historic day not only for Roma.
Three towers eliminated, the space halved, 60 percent less alone for the part relating to the Business Park...We’ve raised the standards of construction to class A4, the highest in the world. We‘ll secure the district of Decima so that it’ll no longer be subject to flooding. We’ll build a new station for the Roma-Lido railway.
We’ve revolutionised the design of the Roma stadium and turned it into an opportunity for Rome. We’ve always said that we’d be conducive to making the stadium happen, but only within the law and for the good of our city.
We’ve succeeded. We avoided the monster project inherited from the previous administration....In Tor di Valle, a new stadium will be built, but one that is modern, environmentally friendly, advanced from a technological viewpoint and, above all, a piece of art that respects the environment and land.
A stadium done well.