ROME, Sept 29 AS Roma will use the English model
for soccer stadiums when drawing up detailed plans for their new
home, club officials said on Tuesday.
Roma share the Stadio Olimpico with city rivals Lazio but
want to build their own 55,000-seater stadium in the western
outskirts of the city to increase much-needed revenue and bring
fans closer to the pitch.
The Olimpico has a running track and coach Claudio Ranieri,
a former Chelsea boss, is looking forward to the new stadium's
dugouts being next to the fans as they are in England.
"It means being together, being an integral part of the
experience with the fans who are close," Ranieri told a news
"In England it's like that everywhere. Away from home you
feel like an opponent but never an enemy."
Italian soccer suffers from a hooliganism problem and fans
are rarely close to players and officials in current stadiums.
A government crackdown has cut the number of violent
incidents and Fiorentina, also mulling a new stadium, have been
praised for removing barriers in the away section.
Supporter unrest continues over Interior Ministry plans to
introduce an electronic supporter card to track fan movements.
Roma fans have also protested against president Rosella
Sensi after another takeover bid collapsed this year.
The Serie A side, sixth last season, issued a mixed set of
financial results on Monday and a new stadium is seen as a way
of swelling the coffers once construction is factored in.
Most Italian clubs rent stadiums from councils, meaning they
have lost out on revenue and suffer in European competition
compared to English and Spanish sides who own their grounds.
Juventus are the first Serie A club to build their own
stadium, with completion due in 2011, while Inter Milan are keen
to move away from the San Siro which AC Milan could then buy.
Reports say Sensi could name the stadium after her late
father and previous president Franco Sensi.
Club captain Francesco Totti, 33, just hopes the ground can
be completed in time for him to play inside it.
"It's hard, I hope they can build it quickly. I hope to
manage it given that I'm signing a new five-year deal," he said.
Environmental opponents have criticised the plans saying the
Olimpico is already a world-class stadium and another ground is
not needed, especially if Lazio decide to build a new home too.
(Writing by Mark Meadows in Milan; Editing by Ed Osmond; To
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