Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis took out a full-page advertisement in Italian newspapers on Sunday to criticise the mayor of Naples after he said he would never listen to him again.
De Laurentiis recently said the Stadio San Paolo has “become a joke,” pointing the finger at mayor Luigi De Magistris for a lack of investment that could lead to his side being forced to play their Champions League games in Palermo in Sicily.
The seats inside the stadium do not meet UEFA requirements, and while the club have been repeatedly given an exemption to be able to play their home games in Naples, the planned replacement of the seats this summer has not taken place and it is not yet clear whether another exemption will be granted.
De Laurentiis blames the city for the mess, and De Magistris said last week that he no longer wishes to talk to a man who, he claims, is making “repeated and offensive attacks on the city and Neapolitans.”
The Napoli president replied via a page-long letter published by Il Corriere della Sera and Il Mattino with the title “De Magistris: An Incompetent Mayor.”
— Adnkronos (@Adnkronos) August 26, 2018
“The only person making repeated and offensive attacks on the city and Neapolitans is, unfortunately, its mayor who, rather than trying to make up for the numerous administrative disasters under his management, instead finds the time to seek controversy with the president of SSC Napoli,” De Laurentiis wrote.
De Laurentiis believes De Magistris is “trying to gain points with the occupants of [supporters group] Curva B, who the club have long since distanced themselves from and who certainly do not represent the many good-minded and correct fans who fill the stadium up, including in that Curva, in support of the team.
“The mayor of Naples is applying a tried and tested technique to hide the inadequacies, delays and omissions caused by his terrible management, also when it comes to the stadium, and tries to shift the attention and incite criticism and dissent towards the club and its president, creating forced and artificial divisions which certainly do nothing for the good of the team and their success.”
De Laurentiis also wrote that he always has the best interests of the Neapolitans at heart, which is why he is pushing for the city to fulfil its obligations in renovating a stadium which “is in a situation of humiliating decay” and is “damaging the image of the club and the city.”
The region of Campania has agreed to pay for the seats to be replaced, but De Laurentiis wrote that he “does not yet know how this will be done, when and with what money” as he laments the continued delays, which means he was unable to sell any season tickets this season since there was no clarity on which seats could be sold.
Almost 35,000 fans watched Napoli’s first home game of the season on Saturday night, although many remained quiet by means of protest during their 3-2 win over AC Milan.
De Laurentiis has repeatedly threatened to build a new stadium outside of the city limits if his requests to renovate the San Paolo continue to be ignored.
On a recent visit to Bari, he said that Stadio San Nicola was “a thousand times better” than the San Paolo. De Laurentiis recently bought the bankrupt club and placed his son in charge of their affairs, drawing further criticism from Napoli fans who feel he is not fully committed to their club.