Time to sound the whistle for kick-off on the new football pitch in Lampedusa. On 18 October the Mediterranean island inaugurated the sports facility as part of the project "The Bridge - Un ponte per Lampedusa", a charitable initiative that is transforming the local sports field into a venue where local people and migrants can come together to enjoy sport and more, also thanks to the contribution of Enel Cuore Onlus.
Four months after work began on the project, which is promoted and coordinated by the football division Lega B’s non-profit organization, B Solidale Onlus, the first phase has been completed. The changing rooms and the fences have been renovated, but the highpoint of the project is the installation of a hybrid natural/synthetic pitch. This particular solution can be irrigated with seawater, thus avoiding having to consume the island’s water reserves. As the mayor of Lampedusa and Linosa Salvatore Martello explained, the structure can set an example in terms of environmental sustainability and the use of cutting-edge technology. The mayor of Amatrice in central Italy, Sergio Pirozzi, took time out from his work on the post-earthquake reconstruction of his town in order to attend the event as the councils of Amatrice and Lampedusa have established a twinning relationship.
In the second phase of the works, financed also with funds from Poste Italiane, the Italian Football Federation, Serie A, the Italian Footballers’ Association and the Istituto per il Credito Sportivo (through AIC Onlus), a photovoltaic plant will be installed capable of producing energy to meet the needs of the stadium plus a surplus that will be used to power other public structures on the island. The heating system will also be powered by solar technology, thus making the stadium Lampedusa’s first fully integrated energy production plant.
Praise for this innovative formula has also arrived from the Minister for Sport Luca Lotti and the President of the Italian Football Federation Carlo Tavecchio, who made a speech alongside the Commissioner of the National Football League Mauro Balata and the President of the Sicilian Regional branch of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) Sergio D’Antoni.
With the construction of a covered stand, a new changing room and the reorganization of the external spaces, the facility will be completed, becoming a symbol of the local community, one in which men and women work every day to save, assist and welcome new arrivals that disembark on the island due to its particular geographical position at the centre of the migration route between Africa and Europe.
A bridge between cultures, but also an opportunity for the young people of the local football teams to learn about living together, the project is a resource for sport, the community, education and integration: values that express the very principles on which Enel Cuore Onlus was founded.