Exclusive interview: A US billionaire's €250 million stadium project intended to propel Fiorentina towards the European elite

9 October 2020

RoccoCommisso
Photo: PA Images "The American owners that run Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool don't necessarily have more financial resources than me. What do they have that I don't? They have new, modern stadiums that help them generate significantly more revenues than Fiorentina," says Fiorentina owner and president Rocco B. Commisso.

Rocco B. Commisso, who took over Fiorentina last year, tells offthepitch.com the club's 89-year-old stadium is stifling his investment, preventing La Viola from competing with the European elite.

But, while he wants to build a brand-new venue, local laws and slow-paced bureaucracy has so far put a stop block on the €250 million project estimated to more than double the club's turnover.

He believes proposed investment from private equity into the Serie A's would help boost the overall competitiveness of the league but is wary of giving up control to external actors.

At the same time, Commisso says the interest from US investors in European football as a whole speaks to the game's unfilled potential compared to its American counterparts.

Emil Gjerding Nielson nielson@offthepitch.com

In the middle of Florence's renaissance architecture lies a 50,000 square metres 89-year-old Italian structure, a relic of the country's fascist era in the first half of the 20th century. In normal times, the structure – ACF Fiorentina's Stadio Artemio Franchi – welcomes between 30,000 and 40,000 people every other week when La Viola compete in the Serie A. 

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