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President Malagò (photo credit: Mezzelani GMT) explained the purpose and the importance of the project. "A sportsman must know how to win and lose, but must have the opportunity to start a new game the next day. I thank the Prime Minister for his help. We are pleased that he has assumed responsibility for sport because there is an opportunity to interact directly by presenting our issues. Sport and Suburbs gives us the opportunity to improve difficult circumstances in influential regions. The 142,000 societies that characterise our environment need a home. There are three criteria which have been used as part of this plan. The completion of the census of sports facilities with 3 million (essential for planning the locations of future projects), restructuring, regeneration and construction of sports facilities, and the anticipation of projects in view of what was Rome's 2024 bid. In order to identify projects to propose to the Prime Minister and in a bid to expand its own knowledge base, CONI invited project proposals to be submitted on its website by 15 February 2016. 1,681 proposals were received, for around EUR 1.3 billion in grant applications. At this point, CONI, with the help of Prefect Riccardo Carpino, appointed an independent committee of legal experts renowned for investigating and analysing proposals: Carlo Deodato (Consigliere di Stato), Vincenzo Nunziata (Vice Avvocato Generale dello Stato), Danilo Del Gaizo (Avvocato dello Stato).

 

Following the outcome of the work carried out by the independent committee, the CONI Committee selected projects to submit to the Prime Minister based on sports policy criteria. The decisions were taken with the aim of ensuring maximum distribution of projects throughout Italy, with as many sporting disciplines being represented as possible. However, in light of the devastating earthquake on 24 August, the Committee decided to allocate EUR 480,000 to proposals received from Accumoli and Amatrice, which were severely affected by the earthquake. It is also planned to do something in the future for Arquata del Tronto, which did not submit any applications. There will be a total of 183 projects in addition to those in Accumoli and Amatrice. All regions of Italy were represented during the selection of projects, with the exception of Trentino and Val d’Aosta which either did not submit any proposals or submitted incomplete proposals. The southern regions have the greatest representation, in particular Calabria (34), Sicily (22) and Campania (19), partly due to the greater number of proposals received. The region with the most projects in the north is Liguria (9) while le Marche is the central region with the most projects (15). Comunes of all sizes are represented: small (less than 10,000 residents), medium 10,000 to 20,000 residents) and large (more than 20,000 residents).

 

The group of Comunes with more than 20,000 residents is the one in which the largest number of projects has been selected (91). The decision also involves balancing economics, in order to ensure greater distribution throughout Italy and across all types of projects (large and small). Around 70% have a value of up to EUR 200,000. The decision was to give priority to projects that would generate social and economic value for the region in view of limited investment values. Finally, as many sporting disciplines as possible have been represented: with football and five-a-side nets, gyms and multi-purpose centres accounting for 39% of projects. Here too, the aim is to develop as large a user base as possible and promote the sustainability of the facilities by enabling more disciplines to be practised. For instance, tennis, track and field, rugby and skating. The withdrawal of the Rome 2024 bid means that the funds intended for multi-purpose facilities in the suburbs will be reallocated throughout the rest of Italy. The Prime Minister must approve the Plan. Until this point, the Plan is not valid. It will then proceed to the implementation phase. Before the implementation phase, however, agreements must be signed with the proposing bodies and so it will be preliminarily verified that all the requirements stated at the time of the proposal have been met, including the estimated value and suitability of the project. It is important to understand that if something does not comply, the agreement will not be signed and the project will not go ahead. As regards implementing the projects, a dedicated CONI organisational unit will be established, the agreement already signed with INVITALIA which uses the ANAC collaborative supervision agreement will be applied, and the best operating methods for implementing small projects will be identified with Palazzo Chigi.

 

I want to thank the government once again – everyone is pleased with this Fund. I hope it will be confirmed for the future. Thank you to the government and let's hear it for sport!".

 

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi highlighted the strategic significance of the Fund. "Today is a special day, because it comes in the wake of the announcement of the withdrawn bid for Rome 2024. Today is a good day for Malagò and CONI. In summary, we believe that sport is key to building communities, to promoting the core values that characterise your movement. Community makes the country stronger. This society is held up by volunteers and in the past politics have done little to help. This fund is not a gift, but is the minimum sport requires to train our young people in suitable settings. And I am sure that the end of the Olympic dream will not jeopardise their growth. Yesterday, parties were held in the suburbs of Paris and other bidding cities. But not in Rome. The fact that the capital's bid – and we can say it now – was in the lead, magnifies the responsibility of those who short-sightedly claimed the right to deny this opportunity. But we will not give up on our sportspeople and this is why we are offering opportunities for physical activity. This project stands for pride and sense of belonging, and we are working to accept President Malagò's proposal and confirm it. Because it means bringing sport to all, creating communities and developing our nation. The country must stand by this. We want to end the bureaucratic procedure by October, without delving into the merits of each and every project. We are happy with CONI's decision. The attention paid to the southern regions is indispensable and it is crucial to discuss these facilities with the school. Procedures that societies are responsible for have also been facilitated and simplified. The first step to investing in health is to exercise and that lies in sport. In Italy we make policies with sport, in the sense that politics deals with sports and recognises the universal value and citizenship that sport brings.

 

The meeting was also attended by President of Coni Servizi Franco Chimenti, Federation Presidents Maurizio Casasco (FMSI), Carlo Magri (FIPAV), Angelo Sticchi Damiani (ACI), Carlo Tavecchio (FIGC) and member of the National Committee Bruno Molea (AICS).

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