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Napoli Starting Champions League Prep As Stadium Issues Loom

With Napoli starting to get their preparation for next month's Champions League playoff round underway, a new problem has arisen: they have no deal in place yet to use the Stadio San Paolo next year, and UEFA is not OK with that.

Paolo Bruno

As Napoli get their Champions League preparations underway, a lot of planning and important decisions have to be made. With a late August playoff round tilt on the docket, the club is trying to hurry to get next season's roster assembled, get players in training, and get the Stadio San Paolo ready for Champions League glory.

Pre-season training is about to get started at the club's training facilities at Castel Volturno, and players are starting to filter back from their offseason vacations. While players who participated in the World Cup are traditionally given extra time off, apparently the likes of Lorenzo Insigne and Gokhan Inler, among some others, are being asked to come back early given the importance of what's coming. Making sure that they don't let down the fans at the Stadio San Paolo is of vital import...

Oh, right. The Stadio San Paolo.

See, there's a catch with Napoli's traditional home. The club and the city of Naples have been negotiating a new usage deal, and the negotiations have been held up while both sides try to figure out how to manage and plan the remodeling and updating of the venerable stadium. As of now, however, there is no usage deal in place, and while there's an "understanding" between the two sides, the lack of a formal deal presents potential problems from a legal standpoint.

Napoli's mayor swears a deal will be in place by late July, but according to Corriere dello Sport, UEFA are not amused with the current lay of the land. They've handed down an ultimatum that at least a one-year arrangement must be in place by July 10th, Thursday, or the club will be forced to play it's playoff round home match at Palermo.

That's obviously far from an ideal situation. The club and city are hopeful of finding a resolution, but three days isn't much time to go from "understanding" to "one-year agreement" for such a complicated deal. Cross your fingers in hopes that a deal gets done, but don't be surprised if the squad has to travel a little farther than normal for their first "home" match of the Champions League campaign.