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De Laurentiis lashes out at Naples mayor over San Paolo renovation

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Aurelio De Laurentiis and the city of Naples have been feuding over the renovation of Napoli's stadium for some time now, and it sounds like the club's owner has had about enough.

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The process for trying to get a renovation project started on the Stadio San Paolo has been a problematic one for a long, long time. As much as the stadium is beloved by the fanbase, it's old, out-dated, and badly run-down, with large sections of the seating closed off because of safety concerns. Aurelio De Laurentiis has been trying for a long time to spearhead an effort to update and renovate the venerable stadium, but as the Naples city council own the building and land, the process has been extraordinarily difficult.

For months, the song has been the same: De Laurentiis says that he has plans and ideas and even wants to make it a bigger project than the stadium, wanting to help revitalize the area as a whole. He has lots of money to give the city up front and funding lined up to pump a lot more money into the project. Then a week or so later, mayor Luigi De Magistris tells the media that the club hasn't given him a "serious offer" for the renovation project or that they haven't submitted plans or that De Laurentiis won't talk to him about it, or some other excuse like that.

Now, after the latest such statement by the city, it sounds like ADL has had enough.

I read De Magistris’ words this morning. I was confused by his words. A few months ago, mayor De Magistris came to dinner with me, and I told him all my plans for the stadium. I told him I’d have €20m available for the work, and he was very happy. We shook hands and came to an agreement.

After that meeting I started looking for competent people to carry out the work, and in the end I discovered the Juventus Stadium was done by the architect [Gino] Zavanella.

I called him, and we found an agreement with him. Of course, for these things you have to go through a long bureaucratic process like feasibility studies and planning applications.

The last word in approving these projects goes to the city. In addition to the €20m I had made available, I had plans for a 45,000-square metre commercial centre at Piazzale Tecchio, which would become a pedestrian area.

-Source: Radio Kiss Kiss
Translation via Football Italia

That's just the frustration over being played by the city so far. Now he's about to cut loose and go full "fury of ADL" mode. Come, Aurelio, tell us what you think of the city and their involvement in the stadium.

This is despite the rubbish, the nonsense we’ve had to put up with over San Paolo, which we’re only allowed to use on a matchday, and we’re not responsible for the maintenance.

We’re only responsible for the pitch itself. I’m ashamed to hold matches in this stadium, where there aren’t even any toilets, we have to bring portable ones from Tuscany.

There have always been problems at this stadium, though I’ve learned to love it because of our fans and their singing. The other day, in the match against Juventus, Andrea Agnelli [the Bianconeri President], who is used to Juventus Stadium, looked around San Paolo and was bewildered.

When Chelsea, [Manchester] City or Bayern Munich came here, what could we do? How could I explain to them that the council doesn’t perform the maintenance? They’d laugh at me.

Yikes. We've long known there's been maintenance and facilities issues at the San Paolo, but it sounds like De Laurentiis is trying to say that they're much, much worse than we've been lead to believe. That's not good. At all.

Nice touch praising the singing and fans, though. Gotta keep them on your side.

De Laurentiis goes on to say that he "doesn't understand this city," and that he "can't go on like this" trying to get a deal worked out with the city to renovate the San Paolo. He doesn't trust the mayor, he doesn't trust the city council, and says that De Magistris and his staff seem to not be able to understand the needs of the city if this is how they carry on their business.

Napoli's owner also went on to say that he has plans in hand for a massive renovation project, one designed by the same man who designed Juventus Stadium in Turin. As much as De Laurentiis wants this project to happen, though, he also said that if an agreement isn't in place by October 30th, he's going to buy land somewhere else in or near Naples to build a new stadium on.

Hopefully something can get worked out, but with the clock ticking down on just a month and so many months of strife and discord in the past, it doesn't look promising. It'd be a shame to leave the San Paolo and its history behind, but if Napoli do build a new stadium, hopefully they make something wonderful in its memory.