Udinese threaten to quit Dacia Arena

Udinese are threatening to leave the Dacia Arena and demanding the return of their €48.5m investment after an anti-corruption investigation was opened.

The situation erupted when the ANAC opened an investigation into both Udinese and the council of Udine over the stadium.

This all goes back to 2013, when Udinese first secured a 99-year lease on what was then called the Stadio Friuli and revamped it.

The question marks were raised over naming rights and the fact the club takes care of the annual maintenance of the stadium rather than the council.

Most stadiums in Italy are owned and run by the local council, with the clubs only leasing them for matchday purposes.

Udinese reacted angrily and CEO Alberto Rigotto threatened to walk away from the Dacia Arena.

“Udinese consider this the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Rigotto in La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“We will therefore ask to terminate the agreement, as we are ready to get out of the way, seeing as we are not wanted.

“We won’t ask for any damages, but only the return of the sum we invested ahead of time, circa €48.5m. There are other councils in the area that would welcome us with open arms. We’re already in contact with others and could build a stadium elsewhere.

“We are in talks with Pasian di Prato, but there are other councils too. I have projects at the ready.”

The extraordinary amount of red tape that clubs have to go through in order to even revamp a stadium, let alone build a new one, in Italy seemingly continues even years after the project has been realised.