Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has applied to move the club’s home Champions League matches to a different venue – some 260km away from their usual location.
The Serie A runners-up were drawn in the same Champions League group as Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and previous winners Red Star Belgrade earlier this month – with an unahppy De Laurentiis himself demanding an “explanation” from UEFA.
The 69-year-old De Laurentiis wants Napoli to move the games away from their Stadio San Paolo due to a dispute with the council over alleged unpaid rent. The Napoli president has insisted they should sell the ground to him.
But he’s also been critical of their historic home, once branding it a “toilet”.
As such, De Laurentiis has hinted that he may apply to move the club’s Champions League home games to the Stadio San Nicola stadium, the home of Serie D side Bari, who he also owns.
“It’s a nightmare, a negative point, and it reduces our international standing to have such a stadium,” De Laurentiis told Corriere dello Sport.
“I say ‘enough’. I won’t create any more controversy and I’ll build my own stadium. It’ll take two years, no-one can say anything if you put in your own money and have the land to build a stadium.
“If these conditions are in place there could be a very fast acceleration.
“I’ve asked UEFA for authorisation to play Champions League matches at the San Nicola. I’ll spend from my own pocket for 1,000 coaches to allow Neapolitans to attend matches at the San Nicola.”
Meanwhile, De Laurentiis has warned Liverpool that their reported target Lorenzo Insigne has a huge release clause in his contract which would deem a potential move to Anfield highly improbable.
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