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Football: Roma get green light for new stadium

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Football: Roma get green light for new stadium
AS Roma players celebrate after making the Champions League final 16. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
09:09 CET+01:00
Serie A side Roma were given the green light on Tuesday by Italian authorities to build their own stadium which they hope to occupy by the 2020/21 season.

The news came on the same night that Roma qualified for the Champions League last 16 top of their group ahead of Chelsea.

The club's American president James Pallotta officially launched the project in March 2014 but there were numerous setbacks before the four main governing bodies involved finally approved plans to build the Stadio della Roma.

"I'm delighted because I know what this decision could mean for Rome itself, for our club's future and for our fans – and we want to give them the home they deserve," said Pallotta in a statement.

The future stadium will be built in the Tor di Valle area in the south of the Italian capital and will have a 55,000 capacity.

Roma currently share the Stadio Olimpico with bitter rivals Lazio.

Roma edged out Azeris Qarabag 1-0 on Tuesday night to top Group C of the Champions League.

"It's satisfying because nobody believed we could qualify at all, they assumed we'd be eliminated, but we worked hard, proved ourselves and won the group," said coach Eusebio Di Francesco, who took over this season.

"It was a great victory, a difficult one, especially as I have no Champions League experience," continued Di Francesco, whose side will now be seeded for Friday's draw, where they could face teams including Real Madrid and Bayern Munich as they bid for a first quarter-final appearance in 10 years.

"We're through and it's with a great sense of pride. But in Italy we have the tendency to sit back. We have to change that mentality and not to be satisfied with what we have. We're first ahead of Chelsea and Atletico. We won by suffering, it's a sign of great mental strength.

"We are among the best 16 teams in Europe and we have to think like a big team, that means not being afraid of anyone."

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