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Nov 19, 2013

Italy looks to follow Brighton blueprint

Brighton & Hove Albion's stadium could provide the blueprint for the future of Italian football, according to Italy's internal affairs minister.

AMEX Stadium opened in July 2011.
AMEX Stadium opened in July 2011.

Palotta calls for reform
'Replace hooligans with kids'

Italy is currently working to take action to reverse the decline of the game in the country, and the government’s Angelino Alfano believes it is important to remove the barriers and bureaucracy obstructing the building of new stadiums.

He cited Brighton’s Amex stadium, which opened in July 2011, as a prime example of what could be achieved. Though the project was actually delayed for several years due to issues with planning permission, the construction itself took two-and-a-half years and cost 93 million pounds.

It is considered one of the most advanced in the sport, and Alfano believes the new stadiums can help in achieving his goal of keeping “criminals and hooligans” away from grounds.

Alfano told a Lega Serie A meeting of club presidents in Milan: “We will work alongside the clubs on new stadiums, using Brighton as a model. They need to become places for families, who can spend an entire day together there.

“It's time to launch phase two -- clubs and state together. The stadiums need to be modernised, using private funding. We and the Lega are going to form a task force to resolve the problems.”

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti, though, warned that those problems -- racism, violence and dwindling crowd numbers -- will not go away overnight.

“Unfortunately, Italian football still has a long way to go, particularly when it comes to the atmosphere,” the Italian, who spent two years in charge at Chelsea, told Radio Monte Carlo.

“I can speak in the highest tones of England, where they had serious hooligan problems and they wiped them out. Now the atmosphere in England is fantastic. I think it's a problem with the stadiums, but above all a sporting culture, which is lagging a long way behind.”

Alfano says his task force will work to resolve these cultural problems by opening up stadiums around the clock, putting them in club rather than city ownership and preventing them from falling into the widespread state of disrepair the majority are currently in.

“We need to cultivate this sense of sport from a young age,” he said in comments report by La Gazzetta dello Sport. “With the stadiums open seven days a week, they will be monitored by the clubs, who will be their owners. Delinquents need to be kept away from our stadiums. We've made a revolutionary and ultra-modern decision and we're going to facilitate the reduction in bureaucracy.”

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