A GUIDE TO THE GROUNDS OF SERIE A
The Stadio Sant’Elia lies in the beautiful setting of Sardinia and must be one of the most picturesque venues in the whole of Italy.
The stadium itself was built in 1970 following Cagliari’s first and last Scudetto triumph and has been recorded to have held 70,000.
The ground went through major refurbishing for the 1990 World Cup Finals in which the capacity was reduced to 39,905. Fans from the UK may recognise this stadium as England team were based here in 1990. They played their group matches here in the afore mentioned World Cup.
In the last 20 years the form of the team has seen the club bounce between two divisions and the attendances have dropped. A controversial move was made to erect two new stands over the running track in the North and South ends of the stadiums so that the fans had a better view and the capacity was dropped to 23,486. This effectively has created a Stadium within a stadium and certainly gives it a strange appearance.
The atmosphere in this stadium can be quite a laid back one for the Italian game, although against rival teams the Cagliari Ultras especially the Sconvolts 87 can produce some excellent choreographed displays. The form of the team really does have an effect on the feeling in the stadium, although as an island people the volume can be cranked up when necessary.
Recent times saw the stadium close due to the Local Authorities branding it unsafe. This saw a move to the equally unsafe Stadio Is Arena and eventually the farcical games in Trieste last season.
Now there are renovations taking place in order to make the Stadio Sant’Elia Cagliari’s home once more. They are playing in it at present but not getting more than nine thousand attending. The plan is to reduce this to 16 thousand.
The debate still roles on with appeals and court cases about how this ground should be developed. All Sardinians are hoping that soon this will be resolved and they can watch their football in a beautiful environment again.