The vision for Parma's new stadium was revealed almost exactly one year ago. Since then, the idea of a futuristic arena has been gaining more and more opponents. The club is in a dire financial situation, and a recently published external report indicates that the entire stadium business plan may be unrealistic.
The 22-page document produced by Initiative Cube Srl was commissioned by the municipality last year. The experts presented their report in June 2021, but the results have not been made public until now. This occurred after several repeated requests from opposition councillors.
The aim of the report was to analyse the financial plan for the construction of the new Stadio Ennio Tardini. Studying the report, it can be concluded that, in the opinion of its authors, the assumptions concerning the economic viability of the planned arena are detached from reality.
The potential revenues indicated in the plan are so hurrah-optimistic that its implementation could lead to the collapse of the famous Italian club. The whole concept assumes that Parma will be successful in sport on a regular basis and that significant sums of money will flow into the club's coffers as a result.
According to the authors of the report, the total operating income of the new facility is 77% dependent on the team's results and the assumption that Parma regularly fight for the highest goals. Additionally, the costs of using the stadium are to be underestimated, and the sustainability of the whole concept - in relation to the current economic situation of the club - is highly questionable.
It should be mentioned that Parma Calcio has been struggling with financial problems for many years, making losses and closing subsequent years with a negative financial balance. Overall, since American Kyle Krause became the owner of the club, the club has recorded losses at a total of €40.6 million and debts of €22.2 million.
There was quite a stir in Parma after the report was made public. The opposition accuses the local authorities of not taking the external report into account and not showing it to the commission of the city council which gave a positive opinion on the plan to build the stadium. By doing so, the municipality would be acting to its own detriment.
A joint conference of the mayor of Parma and the club's owner, added fuel to the fire. The two gentlemen announced that they would now seek financing for the new facility from the National Reconstruction Plan. According to the opposition, this is another example of the city and club managers acting irrationally.
The government project is intended to help Italy recover from the coronavirus pandemic and is not aimed at subsidising the construction of new football stadiums. Admittedly, this is not the case with the construction of the new Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence, but there it concerns a historic building of considerable heritage value.
Let us recall that the new Parma stadium would, according to initial assumptions, cost about €70-80 million, and its capacity would oscillate around 22,000 seats. The concept assumes combining historical elements with a futuristic vision and an extravagant facade of steel covered with a layer of rust. The idea has been controversial from the start and has met with public resistance.