Udinese is set to proceed with its stadium redevelopment plan after signing a financing deal with the Istituto per il Credito Sportivo (ICS) – news that owner Gianpaolo Pozzo described as being equivalent to the club winning the Serie A title.
According to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, the partnership will see ICS, which specialises in providing grant funding to sport and culture projects, provide Eur20 million of the Eur40 million cost of the redevelopment. Italian Serie A clubs have found themselves held back by deteriorating stadia and Udinese’s project is set to be the first major stadium development since Juventus opened its new home in September 2011.
Udinese finished fifth in Serie A last season and has called the Stadio Friuli its home since the facility opened in 1976. The stadium has a capacity of 41,000, but is currently limited to a capacity of about 30,500 for football games. The project will scale the stadium back in size to just over 25,000 seats, but aims to enhance the experience for fans and encourage them to attend games rather than watch matches on television. The project has set a completion date of the 2014-15 season and Pozzo said: “The new stadium is our Scudetto. The new Stadio Friuli in the province will become an important structure for Italian football. I am very pleased with how we developed this project, together we were able to break down the most difficult hurdle – bureaucracy. It was a joint effort.”
ICS extraordinary commissioner Paolo D’Alessio added: “This will be a key installation for Italian football. Udinese has shown that with determination you can build a stadium without the help of state law. This is a momentous day for Italian sport.”