NEWS » AS Roma Soccer Stadium Scandal
AS Roma Soccer Stadium Scandal
A new corruption scandal has hit the Italian capital. This time under the spotlight there is the AS Roma soccer team stadium which has caused the arrest of nine people for alleged corruption involving bureaucratic aspects of the long-delayed stadium. The range of charges include a criminal conspiracy to corrupt public officials. Among those detained there is the main constructor of the stadium, Luca Parnassi. Also arrested was Adriano Palozzi, vice-president of the Lazio region, regional councillor Michele Civita and Luca Lanzalone, the head of municipal electricity company ACEA, who has worked closely with Rome mayor Virginia Raggi in the ongoing approval process. Some of these people have ties to Raggi's 5-Star Movement and the League party, the two groups that head the Italian government.
Corruption in Italy is a major problem. It has often been reported that foreign investments and economic growth are hindered by organized crime and corruption. Business executives from World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2013–2014 consider corruption one of the problems for doing business in Italy. Moreover, in Transparency International's annual surveys, Italy has consistently been regarded as one of the most corrupt countries in the Eurozone.
As far as the new AS Roma stadium is concerned, Rome’s mayor, Virginia Raggi stressed that she is not implicated in the scandal and that the city of Rome is a victim in the case.
Before being elected mayor in 2016, Raggi was against the building of the new stadium in the Tor Di Valle district in south-western Rome. However, the 52,500-capacity ground and connected business park was on its way to be approved hoping to start construction by the end of the year.
The project was unveiled by club president, billionaire US businessman James Pallotta, in March 2014, and was set to cost in the region of €800 million. Since then, Italy's notorious bureaucracy has made it difficult to reach construction stage.
The new stadium was designed to be located southwest of the city, on the site of Rome’s former Hippodrome in the Tor di Valle district. The Tor di Valle project also includes a business park. It has been designated by the Rome city council as a project of public interest for the city and its citizens, and the idea was to attract considerable private investments and create many permanent jobs.
The design of the stadium intended to evoke one of Rome's most beloved and iconic landmarks, the Colosseum. This modern version of the colosseum would include shops, restaurants and bars, including a Roma Superstore and an interactive AS Roma Hall of Fame.
Situated just north of the stadium a state-of-the-art training and wellness facility was planned. In addition to three training pitches, two full-size and one half-size, the centre intended to employ the latest and most sophisticated training technology and equipment.