High Court for Madrid this week nullified zoning amendments which allowed for the construction of Wanda Metropolitano. This controversial decision prompted speculation over Atletico's return to Vicente Calderón.
On Tuesday the High Court for Autonomous Community of Madrid decided to nullify the zoning amendments and exceptions which paved the way for Wanda Metropolitano to be built and launched into operation. It means, in short, the stadium was built and exists in violation of the law, even if retroactively.
The decision is aimed at Atletico directly, rather at municipal authorities of Madrid who are responsible for the changes. However, Atletico is automatically on the same side as beneficiary of the city's decision.
Sentence comes after Atletico's supporters association Señales de Humo, longtime critics of current board of Atletico, had filed a lawsuit against the city last July. The High Court agreed with the fans' stance, giving 6 separate reasons for nullification of the zoning amendments. Among them abuse of power, transfer o public systems for private benefit of Atletico, erronous clasification of land, lack of complaisance with sound pollution/protection laws.
Photo: Tomasz Baranowski (cc: by)
What this means for Atletico
The verdict caused heated debate over the most feared and intuitional question: does Atletico have to abandon their stadium? While the obligation of making things right lies with the city of Madrid, the club does indeed face the option of return to Estadio Vicente Calderón. In a radical variant Atletico could claim immense damages from the city of Madrid and play once more at Calderón.
It's not likely to happen, though. A much more realistic scenario would see the city and Atletico legalising the existing state by a new contract between the two sides.
Madrid would also have to reclaim the site to the public by investing in accessible facilities for residents, allowing Wanda Metropolitano to be considered a site serving public interest rather than only pricate. Accordance with noise protection law is also needed.
No immediate consequence
According to Spanish law, the verdict can now be appealed in 30 working days and because August is a month when courts don't work, the deadline is in October. Municipal officials already assured they will file for cassation of the decision, or nullification of the nullification, if you will.
Once their appeal is filed, it could take 2.5 years for the Spanish Supreme Court to evaluate the case. This means that for now no changes should be expected. Atletico remain very constrained in their reaction and refuse to give definitive opinions.
Tensions between fans
After the decision on July 31 supporters from Señales de Humo organised a press conference, assuring everyone they're working with the club's best interest in mind. Building a future on erronous/illegal foundation would be wrong, they argue. Also, according to the association's legal team, Atletico has the upper hand. The team might negotiate better conditions for future use of the stadium, should the verdict stand.
That didn't stop other fans from voicing opposition to the controversial group. Fernando Romero, former president of the Atleti's 'collective of peñas' openly accused Señales de Humo of working against their own club.