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Volume 6 No. 211


Serie A side AS Roma on Tuesday got the "green light" to build its new stadium, according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. The club said that the four local authorities involved in the decision approved the plans to build the Stadio della Roma. Club President James Pallotta said, "I'm delighted because I know what this decision could mean for Rome itself, for our club's future and for our fans -- and we want to give them the home they deserve." The stadium will be built in the Tor di Valle area in the south of the city and Roma hopes to "move in" for the '20-21 season (REUTERS, 12/6). The AP's Andrew Dampf reported Pallotta first presented the stadium plan in March '14 alongside then-mayor Ignazio Marino, saying that it would be ready for the '16-17 season. But the "massive project" -- due to include a training center, entertainment complex, three office towers and "extensive transportation works" -- was delayed by "environmental concerns and criticism over public funding." The project's cost was originally valued at €1.6B, including more than €200M in public financing. Earlier this year, the office towers were cut from the project to gain approval from current Mayor Virginia Raggi. Last month, the government "made a push for approval in the wake of Italy's failure to qualify for the World Cup." Italian Sports Minister Luca Lotti said, "The green light confirms that our country is able to attract investments." The proposed stadium site in Tor di Valle is "about halfway between downtown and Leonardo Da Vinci Airport." With a "design inspired by the Colosseum, the stadium is slated to seat 52,500 and be expandable to 60,000 for major matches" (AP, 12/6). ANSA reported AS Roma GM Mauro Baldissoni said that work on the stadium "will start next spring at the latest." Baldissoni said that the inaugural game there would be in the '20-21 season. He added, "The objective is to open the building site at the end of April or at the latest the beginning of May 2018 ... in order to have a construction time that may vary from 26 to 28 months. And thus to have the 2020-21 season as a reachable goal" (ANSA, 12/6).

Premiership Rugby side Gloucester will install a hybrid pitch at Kingsholm Stadium at the end of the '17-18 season "instead of an artificial surface." The club will invest £1M ($1.34M) "in the replacement pitch together with new bonuses for non-playing staff." Gloucester CEO Stephen Vaughan said, "The best commercial option would have been to opt for an all-weather surface. But we have opted for the preferred choice of the playing squad" (BBC, 12/5).

Super League rugby club Widnes Vikings signed a five-year stadium tenancy extension with Halton Borough Council. The new deal commits the club to its Halton Stadium home until '22 and creates commercial opportunities for the Vikings and Halton Borough Council. The agreement offers Widnes Vikings opportunities to generate new income through extending the club's commercial inventory within the stadium (Widnes Vikings).