‘No doubts about new Roma stadium’

Roma Vice-President Mauro Baldissoni has insisted that the club’s new stadium will go ahead as planned, despite the arrest of a councillor.

Marcello De Vito – President of Rome city council’s assembly – was arrested on Wednesday morning after he allegedly took bribes from Luca Parnasi, contractor for the Stadio della Roma before he was detained himself last year.

“It’s always sad to learn about news like this as a citizen, but we are not surprised by Ielo’s words,” the club’s official website quoted Baldissoni as telling Sky Sport Italia.

“The Stadio della Roma project is a huge and complex undertaking, but it has been approved by every administration and nobody found any discrepancies with it.

“The Conferenza dei Servizi was completed 15 months ago, so it is hard to imagine that anyone is only now uncovering some issues – and in reality they are not, as prosecutor Ielo has confirmed today. There should not be any doubts about Stadio della Roma.

“It is an approval the club has already secured, to continue with as soon as possible. If there has been evidence of possible corruption then of course we are very disappointed; we hope that those who have been accused are able to prove their innocence – and if they are found to have done wrong then they should pay the consequences.

“But there is also a collective responsibility, on the part of those who run the city, that we make sure this process is approved and concluded. Also because an investment like this, of more than a billion euros, should be a priority for the city and the country.”

Prosecutor Paolo Ielo quickly assured neither the club nor the project were linked to the corruption case…

“No, and there is no reason for that from a judicial standpoint,” continued Baldissoni when asked whether the stadium faced more delays.

“We have worked hard, along with the Roma Comune, dedicating a lot of time and energy to complete the final details required to reach the final urban variation vote.

“We have made it known in recent days that a few weeks should be enough for us to complete all the outstanding planning procedures required – and still expect that to happen. “We have been working with the Comune to complete everything required to close the final documentation before the end of April. 

“Jim is a successful businessman and investor and he has shown that throughout his life. He is used to weighing up the pros and cons of every initiative, but I must say that what he has had to deal with in Rome has probably gone beyond even what he anticipated.

“I think as citizens we need to thank him for his commitment to this process: he has always maintained his belief in the potential of this country and this city in particular.

“From this perspective, as well, we have a responsibility to help an individual who is ready and willing to invest in Roma like this.

“So even if, at times, he weighs things up when it is taking so long to move forward with a project like this – ultimately he has decided to see it through to the end and, as I said before, we have a responsibility to help him and all those who have decided to invest in this city.”

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