AS Roma have unveiled plans to build a 52,500-capacity stadium that would make them only the second Serie A club to play in their own arena.
Club chairman James Pallotta said on Wednesday he hoped the Stadio della Roma would be ready for the 2016/17 season, although it still depended on approval from local authorities.
“We have worked exceptionally hard over the past two years and particularly in recent months in collaboration with Mayor (Ignazio) Marino and his administration in developing this stadium project for AS Roma, the city of Rome and our great fans,” said Pallotta.
“The city and fans deserve this world-class stadium. We are confident the Stadio della Roma will be among the best in the world and a key driver for the club’s continued success.”
Roma said the new stadium would be a central part of the strategy for the club’s future and its “re-emergence as a force in international football”.
The stadium would offer a variety of venues for music and entertainment, giving the club the chance to earn extra income.
“An integral part of the vision for this new development is that the new Stadio della Roma will serve as an anchor for a larger new privately owned and managed mixed-use development,” said the club in a statement.
“This campus will become an active seven-day a week hub for shopping, dining, entertainment, work, hospitality and sport and will host Romans and visitors from around the world 365 days a year.”
Pallotta added: “For a stadium development to be truly successful today, it must become part of the everyday fabric of people’s lives. This integrated project provides such an opportunity, creates thousands of jobs many new and sustainable business opportunities.”
Italian media said the stadium, to be built in the south-west of the city, would cost 300 million euros.
The crowd would be only a few metres from the pitch, a stark contrast to the Stadio Olimpico which Roma currently share with neighbours Lazio, where a running track separates the fans from the field.
Stadium ownership is considered a key issue in Italian football as Serie A has slipped behind the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and Germany’s Bundesliga.
Juventus have won the Serie A twice in a row since they opened their own stadium in 2011 and are on course for a third successive title this season with Roma in second place.
But other Serie A clubs use municipal stadiums which are often in a decrepit condition.
They complain that this limits their possibilities for growth but that Byzantine planning restrictions and difficulties in obtaining financing prevent them from building their own stadiums.
Cagliari have been split between three stadiums in the last two seasons, one of them in Trieste on the Slovenian border and nearly 1,000 kilometres from their Sardinian base.
They are currently playing at the Sant’Elia stadium where ongoing renovation limits capacity to just under 5,000.
Roma, beaten European Cup finalists in 1984, have won Serie A three times, most recently in 2001, and the Coppa Italia on nine occasions.