Italy: Dark clouds over Franchi renovation. Massive funding shortfall!

source:; author: Paulina Skóra

Italy: Dark clouds over Franchi renovation. Massive funding shortfall! For many months now, heated discussions have been ongoing regarding the renovation of the Artemio Franchi stadium. First, there were efforts to find a temporary stadium for Fiorentina during the renovation period, and once that situation was resolved, another problem emerged. The club president, Rocco Commisso, has spoken out on this issue.


Will Fiorentina seek compensation?

The Franchi stadium is a problem. I have met with Minister Abodi and Mayor Nardella, and we still need at least €100 million to complete the work, and we believe we cannot start without all the necessary funds and a precise and credible schedule.

Commisso fears that the modernization could drag on and points out that due to the limited capacity of Artemio Franchi, essential for conducting the work, Fiorentina will lose around €10-15 million per year from matchday revenues alone in the first year of construction. In the 2024/2025 season, the stadium will only accommodate a maximum of 22,000 people, not over 43,000, which is the current capacity of the stadium.

The Fiorentina president also warns that he intends to protect the club and is considering legal action. This likely refers to seeking compensation for the losses Viola will incur due to the stadium reconstruction. Although no response has been received from the municipality yet, it is clear that Palazzo Vecchio, unlike Fiorentina, is completely certain about the validity of the Franchi modernization project, forcefully proposed and largely funded by European funds.

Design of Stadio Artemio Franchi© ACF Fiorentina

Mayor's satisfaction

Dario Nardella, the outgoing mayor of Florence, has declined to comment on the Fiorentina president's words while emphasizing his satisfaction with the work done so far and the entire Franchi reconstruction project. After all, the modernization is already underway. On February 20 precisely at 11:00, renovation work began, starting with the demolition of one of the venue's greatest symbols, the scoreboard installed in 1982 on the Curva Ferrovia stand.

All this is to prevent Fiorentina from losing €151 million from the Complementary National Plan, a fund provided by the state. This plan has many deadlines: stadium work had to commence by March 31, 2024, and the facility must be completed by December 31, 2026. Full investment was supposed to start in April, but we really have no detailed information on this matter. Given the verbal skirmishes between the Fiorentina president and city authorities, it can be inferred that little progress is being made.

Will investment completion be delayed?

In early March, Senator Paolo Marcheschi mentioned in an interview with Radio Bruno that stadium work could extend until 2028. Minister Fitto, after meetings with European leaders, managed to extend the modernization completion by two years. This means that if necessary, work could continue beyond 2026, and funding will not be suspended. Will Florence take advantage of this opportunity? Officially, this is not known.

Design of Stadio Artemio Franchi© ACF Fiorentina

Hot topic in election campaign

Politicians have spoken out on this investment, which will be a focal point in the local elections scheduled for June 8 and 9, with candidates running for mayor of Florence or the City Council. Stefania Saccardi, a mayoral candidate for Florence, sharply commented on the recent events regarding the Franchi modernization: Currently, around €100 million is still missing to complete the Franchi rebuild. We have always said that stadiums should not be built with public money. It has been known for some time that the project is incomplete and, above all, does not provide certainty about where the team will play.

Stefania Saccardi also shared a somewhat shocking piece of information, which has not yet resonated widely in the public opinion. According to her, the Italian government recently informed that due to ongoing issues with the Franchi reconstruction, this stadium will not be considered for hosting the 2032 European Championships.

Are we surprised that Fiorentina is considering seeking compensation? This was predictable. We must stop this and start a real and open dialogue with society and manage this issue in an intelligent and concrete manner, concluded the candidate.

Design of Stadio Artemio Franchi© ACF Fiorentina