In Naples it is easier to win titles and cups than to build a sports hall

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In Naples it is easier to win titles and cups than to build a sports hall

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In Naples, it has now become easier to win a Scudetto in football or an Italian Cup in basketball, rather than building a sports hall worthy of the name. The only large city in Italy to be “orphan” of this structure (Milan and Rome, to name the other two national metropolises) are light years ahead, but even the provincial capital cities manage to have new, functional and cutting-edge systems . Naples, no. There is only one stadium, the Diego Armando Maradona was Stadio San Paolo and even before that Stadio Del Sole, and that's it. The rest is silence, as a noble prince of Denmark said in the work that ensured immortality for William Shakespeare.

The success of Napoli Basket in the Italian Cup, which returns to the Gulf 18 years after the magical night of 20 February 2006 in Forlì, has reopened a wound that has never healed and which concerns the total absence of a stadium sport in Naples and which for years now has been loudly requested by professionals, forced to wander around the region looking for spaces to rent to make up for this shortage. Napoli Basket itself had “moved” first to Sant'Antimo and then to Casalnuovo, before arriving at PalaBarbuto, a prefabricated structure with a reduced capacity and famous for becoming an authentic “oven” even in the middle of winter. It had been built as a temporary “structure”, because the nearby Pala Argento had to be adapted to the new seismic regulations: today, of that building to be “adapted”, only two half stands remain, now reduced to ruins as if they had thousands of years of history, and which could not be recovered in any way, but only demolished. The old basketball temple, which also hosted large concerts, is entering its 26th year of abandonment.

Things are no better at the Sferisterio di Fuorigrotta , another flagship built when Fuorigrotta was supposed to become the district of Naples dedicated to sport tout court. Here too there is nothing left except four walls without even the roof anymore. Every now and then some rubble comes down, and the danger that it will end up falling on the houses that have sprung up around like mushrooms is also quite real, as the physicist and meteorologist Adriano Mazzarella also reported to Fanpage.it some time ago. Here the closure occurred on December 31, 1986, due to a fire which was never fully resolved. And it has never reopened since then.

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Among the sports structures still standing, only the Scandone swimming pool survives, still in the same area: water polo and swimming are still sacred in Naples. Although it too is closed from time to time for various reasons, but at least it is a facility that fights with dignity and well in a city that has sacrificed everything or almost everything to the stadium of the main football team. The lack of structures, obviously, also spills over into the sports clubs: Naples produces very champions, for example, in volleyball (a few years ago the Italian women's national team had 4 Neapolitan athletes in the 6 starters, including the historic Italian captain Antonella Del Core), but it has no structures and consequently no teams where they can “explode”, after the farewell to the scenes of the Ester Center of Naples East , the only beacon of Neapolitan volleyball.

In reality, football isn't doing much better: if the Maradona stadium saw a partial renovation for the 2019 Universiade, making it more suitable for today's times (although the third tier continues to be closed), the Arturo Collana stadium at Vomero is in a state of abandonment. Something is moving here, at least on paper: the Region has ensured an investment of 70 million euros, the Federation goes out of its way and talks about April 2024 as the date of the new inauguration. But the fact remains that in Naples people continue to do well in sport, both team and individual, despite the practically total lack of adequate structures. And that's not much.

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Giuseppe Cozzolino, journalist, born in 1984. Graduated in Foreign Languages, I have been working with Fanpage.it since 2012, currently working for the news editorial team in Naples. Video gamer and lover of music, dogs and history, especially ancient history.

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