In a development that should surprise precisely nobody, the final vote on Fiorentina’s new, team-owned stadium at the Mercafir supermarket has been pushed back for the umpteenth time by a vote of 31 to 12. The new deadline for the city of Florence to approve the project will be at the end of February 2018, rather than by 31 December of this year.
The council cited the Environmental Impact Assessment for an ongoing upgrade to the Firenze-Peretola Airport (no longer the Amerigo Vespucci), which is very close to the Mercafir site, as the reason they’d delayed the final vote. There’s been some concern that two such major construction projects in the same area could create significant environmental hazards, and that further research must be done before an informed vote can be taken.
This is hardly a surprising development, frankly. The Mercafir project has loomed over this team for the past few years, but it’s never gotten past these types of initial discussions and conceptual drawings whose purpose is to pique public interest rather than provide a realistic glimpse of the future. Of late, the rumors that the Della Valles are interested in selling the team have thrown the affair into even more confusion.
That’s why we kind of expected another delay like this. There are so many moving pieces in this—Fiorentina, the Della Valles, the Florentine civic government, the population of the city itself—that a cynic might submit that the DVs, seeing that a deal might be difficult to push through right now, have worked behind the scenes to push the vote back again to give them more time to gather support and tamp down resistance.
Fortunately, I’m not that type of cynic. Rather, having watched how Diego and Andrea have run the club over the past several years, I think it’s a combination of apathy and lack of preparedness, which is both reassuring and discouraging. No matter how this shakes out, though, Fiorentina is still years away from becoming the fourth Serie A club to own its stadium after Juventus, Sassuolo, and Udinese.