MILAN - Juventus began what they hope will
be a brighter era for the club by opening a new stadium with a
lavish ceremony and a friendly against an English third division
side on Thursday.
The event in Turin was given great significance in Italy as
Juventus will be the only Serie A to play in their own stadium,
a situation which holds clubs back financially.
Notts County, who came away with a 1-1 draw, were chosen as
the opponents for sentimental reasons as their black-and-white
striped shirts inspired Juventus' choice of strip when the club
decided to replace their faded pink shirts in 1903.
"We have completed this project at a very difficult and
delicate moment, in terms of the club's sporting history and the
macroeconomic context," club president Andrea Agnelli told
reporters before the opening ceremony.
"This is a demonstration of our will to undertake an
investment which can change our club and the ownership culture
in Italy. This for us is a matter of great pride."
Italian FA President Giancarlo Abete added: "What is lacking
in Italian football is that the clubs have their own stadiums."
The stadium, built in two years on the site of the former
Stadio delle Alpi, has a capacity of 41,000 with the front seats
only seven metres from the pitch in order to provide an
It is a far cry from the previous stadium, which was often
half full and where players complained that the crowd's distance
from the pitch created a subdued atmosphere.
Juventus slumped after the Calciopoli corruption scandal
when the club was stripped of the 2004/05 and 2005/06 titles and
demoted to Serie B.
Although they won promotion at the first attempt, they have
not added to their total of 27 Serie A titles since then and
finished seventh in each of the last two seasons.
"It is a cultural revolution, and a revolution of the
football world. It's an important step for us," said midfielder
Alessandro Del Piero who has spent his whole career with the
club, before the game. "I really hope this will now become the
norm for Italian football and its stadiums."
In the last 25 years, Juventus have played at the old
Comunale stadium and the unpopular Stadio delle Alpi, site of
the current arena. Since 2006, they have played at the Olimpico,
the re-modelled version of the Comunale.
The first competitive game will be at home to Parma on
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