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Stadio San Paolo To Be Renovated

After a brief standoff between club and city, plans for a renovation of Napoli's home ground are beginning to take shape.

Paolo Bruno

Despite some showman's threats from Aurelio De Laurentiis about moving the club to England, it looks like Napoli is set to stay at the Stadio San Paolo for the forseeable future. Statements from both the club and the mayor's office of the city of Naples have confirmed that Napoli have paid their rent on the stadium that was in arrears, with an agreement on planning a "significant" redevelopment of the stadium.

"Things will begin to move forward immediately," Mayor Luigi De Magistris told Radio Kiss Kiss. "I would like for the research to be done before the end of the year, at which point there will be a commitment to putting the necessary money in to fund the building of the stadium. There is a commitment to create a project, I will trust those who have designed the most beautiful stadiums."

Hearing plans of a redevelopment of the Stadio San Paolo can only be met with enthusiasm. The stadium is still a gorgeous building, but it's impossible to deny that the structure, built in 1959, has grown very out of date and is frankly starting to look old. A revitalization of the building can only serve to benefit both club and city in terms of new and improved revenue streams, and in an era where Napoli is facing the limitations of Financial Fair Play in Europe, working every euro they can out of their stadium will be vitally important.

When asked what the project will entail, Mayor De Magistris was a little more vague. He told Radio Kiss Kiss that he wants "a project worthy of football and of the city. There will be a debate to discuss the issue, at the moment the most important thing is that we have reached an agreement." As to the athletic track between the pitch and stands, he mentioned that there's been discussion of moving the stands in to where the track currently stands, but also confirmed an offer from De Laurentiis to build a new one as the existing track has fallen in to disrepair.

While perhaps moving in to a brand new building designed solely for football would have been the ideal endpoint to Napoli's stadium drama, getting a renovated and modernized Stadio San Paolo is a close second. This way they'll be able to retain the history and splendor of the ground that saw them win two Serie A titles, three Coppa Italias, and a UEFA Cup.

There's still the matter of stadium ownership to settle, De Laurentiis would rather own and control it himself, where the city would like to retain ownership, but that's something that doesn't need to be settled right this second. For now, things are on a good path, and will hopefully stay that way until the Stadio San Paolo has been restored to the shining beacon of football it deserves to be.