Udinese has presented plans for a major redevelopment of its Stadio Friuli home, with the goal of beginning work in March, reports SportBusiness. Udinese finished third in Serie A last season and has called the Stadio Friuli its home since it opened in 1976. The stadium has a capacity of 41,000, but is currently limited to a capacity of around 30,500 for football games.
Club officials have outlined a project that will scale the stadium back in size, but aims to enhance the experience for fans and encourage them to attend games rather than watch matches on television.
"I believe that the work could begin early next year, maybe in March," Udinese's administrative director, Albero Rigotto, told the club's official website.
"Now begins the hard part, there will be a race to determine who physically builds the Stadio Friuli. The stadium capacity will be 25,000 covered seats, expandable to 35,000 for major events. The stands will be closer to the field. At a time of economic difficulty it is hard to find an investor willing to pay Eur25 million, which is why it is the duty of everyone, and especially of the political forces of any flag, to make sure we can reach the goal."
Udinese's owner, Giampaolo Pozzo, added: "With this move we want to make the leap to give added value to our club and to create a sense of belonging to the players at the club. We need a functional system capable of providing all the comforts for our fans and push the team to hunt for success.
"We want to disconnect the TV from our supporters and bring them to the stadium to be close to the team. This is the only formula to improve and gain points in the standings. The decision to build a stadium for 25,000 spectators is adequate and compares well to the catchment area of our club. We can satisfy all our needs."