In Lampedusa, a stadium for solidarity

Published on Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The values of sport to bolster solidarity in a border land, like the island of Lampedusa.

It is the aim of the project "The Bridge - A Bridge for Lampedusa" for the construction of a stadium, also supporting local sports clubs and social, training, education and integration activities over the next five years.

A dream that is now in full swing: Italy's Sports Minister Luca Lotti, the mayor of Lampedusa and Linosa Giusi Nicolini, the Vice-President of the Professionals B National League Andrea Corradino, and B Solidale Onlus Trustee Gianluigi Pocchi laid the first pitch of the new football field in Lampedusa.

The project was made possible thanks to the prized contribution of a team of partners that share the values of the initiative: Enel Cuore, the Italian Football Players Association, through the AIC Onlus Foundation, and the Professionals B National League. Angelica Carnelos of Enel Cuore Onlus, and Gaetano Evangelisti, Head of Institutional Affairs Southern Italy, were also present.

The idea aims to send a sign of appreciation to an extraordinary community of Italians, always ready to save, attend to and welcome, but also to those who, thanks to this show of humanity, have new hope in life. It is a tangible way sign, full of meaning, identified in the construction of a public stadium that, taking inspiration and example from the local islanders, will not leave them alone in this difficult mission that geography and history have assigned to them.

The hope is that the stadium will become the island's main aggregation center, allowing young people from local football teams, students at all levels of education and immigrant children hosted at the reception center to benefit from a number of opportunities in sports, providing training and integration. In this regard, the third edition of the AIC Camp for children of Lampedusa will be held in September at the same field, where AIC Onlus and League B will soon organise ongoing football school activities for children.

The laying of the first pitch marks the beginning of the works that will provide the Lampedusa community - by autumn - with a next-generation natural/synthetic grass field, playing enclosure, related sports equipment and refurbishment of the current dressing room. A second series of works, which will follow this first functional series, will include lighting, a covered tribune, more locker rooms and outdoor fittings.

Part of the funding has been raised through a crowdfunding campaign on the Tifosy platform and the solidarity number 45527 - active until 3 October 2017 - granted by the Dono Per telephone company consortium, formed by TIM, Vodafone, Wind, with the collaboration of Infostrada and CoopVoce. The text message solidarity campaign was promoted at all the fields of Serie B ConTe.it during the national league and on the media (TV, radio), relying on popular sports and entertainment names such as Aldair, Negrita, Nino Frassica and Maria Grazia Cucinotta.

Federico Vecchio, an attorney, had the idea for the initiative which was then developed architect Filippo Fanelli. The legal aspects were attended to by lawyers Marco Cerritelli, Valentina Perrone and Anna Vesco of McDermott Will and Emery, and Vincenzo Bancone, LS Lexjus Sinacta partner - Definition of giving strategies and relations with philanthropic organizations.

The project was presented on 18 May 2016 before His Holiness Pope Francis and to the press at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in Vatican City, when it received the patronage of the Jubilee of Mercy.

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