x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Cagliari not only team in need of a true home in Serie A

Only Juventus own the ground they play in, which is a major problem in Italy, as the Uefa president Michel Platini pointed out while in the UAE last week.

Kwadwo Asamoah, centre, and his Juventus teammates had to travel even farther than usual to play Cagliari because the league determined the host stadium was not safe.
Kwadwo Asamoah, centre, and his Juventus teammates had to travel even farther than usual to play Cagliari because the league determined the host stadium was not safe.

 

The last round of Serie A fixtures of 2012 had Juventus away at Cagliari. But what should have been a big night for the hosts, with plenty of Sardinian youngsters enjoying the chance, in school holidays, to see the Serie A champions live, turned out anything but.

At short notice, the authorities ordered the match to be played in Parma, more than 600 miles, and across a stretch of the Mediterranean, from Cagliari.

The change of venue came about because of safety concerns around the Stadio Is Arenas, which has been Cagliari's temporary "home" following a row between Massimo Cellino, the club's president, and the local council over the Stadio Sant'Elia, where the team played until last year.

At the end of last season, Cagliari played several home fixtures in Trieste, even farther from Sardinia than Parma.

The saga of Cagliari's search for a proper home is a long one, but it shares elements with the frustratingly slow progress several Italian clubs have suffered in their plans for modern arenas where they would hold a significant stake.

In Serie A, only Juventus own the ground they play in. As the Uefa president Michel Platini pointed out while in the UAE last week: "Italy's real problem is the situation with its stadiums."

Clubs are deprived of an important source of income for being mere tenants. Fans endure poor conditions. The latest chapter of the Cagliari mess again gave Serie A a backward image. As most clubs operate in unsatisfactory arenas, that is not a misleading one.

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE