Towards the end of February, the day after Roma finally received permission to build a new stadium at Tor di Valle, Lazio president Claudio Lotito demanded that his team be given the same opportunity as their city rivals. But Rome’s sports assessor, Daniele Frongia, has revealed that since then he has heard nothing from the Biancocelesti, nor does he have any meetings lined up with the club’s hierarchy to discuss plans for a new Lazio stadium.
“Lazio and its many supporters are confident and certain that the entire administration of Rome council will not create discrimination between Roman citizens based on their football allegiance, so Virginia Raggi and her group will certainly allow the construction of a stadium for the Biancocelesti fans too,” Lotito declared last month. “Only the initiative of creating a stadium for Lazio will confirm the desire of our institutions to move with the times and take an innovative route for our city.”
Despite their stated intention to follow Roma’s lead in building a new stadium, Frongia told Radio Radio that no actions have followed Lotito’s words. “SS Lazio showed some interest a few weeks ago in an official statement, but since then there have been no proposals and there have been no meetings,” Frongia said. “There aren’t even plans for any meetings between the council and SS Lazio.” Therefore, last week’s reportedly cancelled meeting between Rome mayor Virginia Raggi and Lotito was never scheduled in the first place.
While the Biancocelesti vacillate, preparations to redevelop the Stadio Flaminio – with financial support from the Getty Foundation – are ongoing. The city are not opposed to the construction of another new stadium in addition to the Stadio della Roma and the revamped Flaminio, but Frongia added that “I have to stress that president Lotito has already said many times – including personally to me – that SS Lazio aren’t interested in the Stadio Flaminio.”
It remains to be seen when plans for a new Lazio stadium will be put forward, and former mayor of Rome Francesco Rutelli underlines that the ball is completely in the Biancocelesti’s court. “Roma and Lazio are starting from essentially the same position. If the city doesn’t have its own project – and it doesn’t – then it’s up to private investors, i.e. the clubs’ owners, to show their hands.” In the meantime, Lazio’s fans can only watch on as their city neighbours’ project continues to move – slowly – forwards.