Italy: Billionaire willing to help build stadium in Pisa

source: [TS]; author: Tomasz Sobura

Italy: Billionaire willing to help build stadium in Pisa Perhaps this year the construction of a new stadium in Pisa will start. Optimism of the fans of the Tuscan club is associated with the person of Alexander Knaster, a potential investor who intends to rebuild the well-worn Garibaldi Arena.


Summary of activities related to stadium last year

The construction design of the venue for 18,000 spectators was introduced in 2017. The concept assumes the creation of a new facility in place of the old one, just a few hundred metres from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The entire investment is to close at € 30million.

In May 2020, the municipality finally approved the development conditions for the new stadium. An entity called "Dea Capital", with the club's majority shareholder Enzo Ricci, coordinated the efforts to find an investor for the facility.

Arena Garibaldi - nuovo stadio Pisa© Iotto Pavarani Architetti

At one point it was believed that 10% of the funds should be provided by the municipality, at least 10% by the club through a loan and around 80% by Invimit, which is the asset management company of the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

After that work on "Pef" began. In Italy, it is a financial plan with which the club is to prove guarantees for a new project and demonstrate how it intends to pay off the loan.

Then came the English Pamplona Capital fund linked to billionaire Alexander Knaster, whose authorities confirmed that they would be willing to replace a large part of the Invimit contribution and fully cover the liabilities of AC Pisa 1909 and the municipality. Thus, the investment will be carried out mostly from private funds.

Arena Garibaldi - nuovo stadio Pisa© Iotto Pavarani Architetti

Breakthrough thanks to Alexander Knaster

Alexander Knaster intends to buy 75% of the club's shares for around € 10 million from Mirko Paletti and Enzo Ricci, who hold 6.75% and 68.25% respectively. Time will tell if the billionaire will make the transaction on his own behalf or through the Pamplona Capital fund, which he created. The remaining 25% of the shares will be retained by Magico srl, which belongs to the Corrado family.

Alexander Knaster's plan assumes construction of a stadium, expansion of the academy and ultimately, promotion to Serie A. Perhaps this will happen, because according to Forbes, the American's fortune amounts to € 2.2 billion, and this may herald serious investments in AC Pisa 1909.

Knaster tried unsuccessfully to take over two other sides, Sampdoria and AC Parma. Now the American of Russian descent is interested in AC Pisa 1909, which is currently in Serie B. The purchase transaction is expected to close in the coming weeks. In taking over the club, he is helped by, among others, former footballer Gianluca Vialli.

Arena Garibaldi - nuovo stadio Pisa© Iotto Pavarani Architetti

The English from Pamplona Capital have one condition, they want to be the operator of the newly built stadium and benefit from it. The entity expects that the venue is to be multifunctional (football fixtures, concerts, cultural events) and to have extensive entertainment and commercial facilities. 

In recent days local media have confirmed that much of the commercial potential would be managed by Legends International, company responsible for solutions for some of the best football clubs and their stadia.  

Alessandro Pasquarelli, CEO of the Yard group (responsible for piloting the investment), confirmed that there is an ongoing dialogue with Pamplona Capital fund interested in managing the future stadium. The English, moreover, had been probing the possibility of entering this investment for a year, which was kept in secret for a long time.

Author:Tomasz Sobura

Arena Garibaldi - nuovo stadio Pisa© Iotto Pavarani Architetti