With Roma leaving the Stadio Olimpico and Lazio wanting to follow suit, the Italian national team could end up with a home of its own.
Roma’s long-delayed stadium plans were given the green light by Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi on Friday, prompting Lazio to say it wanted its own stadium, too.
The president of the Italian National Olympic Committee, which owns the Stadio Olimpico, said Monday that would be fine.
“When Roma and Lazio aren’t there anymore a deal could be made with the federation like in England where Wembley is the national team’s stadium,” CONI President Giovanni Malago said. “As CONI we are absolutely as happy for Lazio to have its own stadium and we would give it exactly the same endorsement – no more, no less – than we did for Roma’s stadium.”
Roma’s 1.6 billion euro ($1.7 billion) stadium project, mostly privately financed, was cleared for construction after crunch meetings on Friday, with Raggi agreeing to a scaled down version, including the removal of three office towers from the plans.
The project still faces a number of obstacles but Roma’s American president, James Pallotta, is hopeful the club could be playing its first match in its new stadium within three years.
The stadium will be in Tor di Valle, halfway between downtown and Leonardo Da Vinci Airport.
“We are very happy Roma’s stadium has been allowed, it’s something very important for sport,” Malago said. “Even if we are losing a very important client this is the right direction and we are very happy with this decision.”
Only three other Italian teams have their own stadiums. The Juventus Stadium was the first when it was inaugurated on Sept. 8, 2011. Sassuolo owner Giorgio Squinzi’s company bought his team’s stadium in 2013, while Udinese opened its own ground earlier this year.
All three are modelled on British stadiums, where there is no running track around the field, allowing supporters to be closer to the action.