Despite eccentric Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis raising the issue of a change of venue yesterday, the Group C Champions League clash will go ahead as planned at Stadio San Paolo.
The Echo are reporting today that the October 3rd away fixture is still set to be played in Naples, and not SSC Bari’s stadium, Stadio San Nicola, as suggested by De Laurentiis.
De Laurentiis, never one to shy away from controversy, seems to be playing a game with UEFA, daring them to make an exception for Napoli’s ageing stadium (one that currently is not up to their standards). If so, his bluff seems to have worked.
This is also the owner who recently accused Liverpool and Roma of being owned by the same company, and demanded that UEFA take action to remove the Champions League finalists from the competition. Liverpool, naturally, ended up in Napoli’s Champions League group.
Although playing in front of a home crowd and in your home stadium is an advantage for Napoli, it is also good for Liverpool supporters who have already started making arrangements for the away trip.
And who knows, maybe one of these days UEFA will actually start taking their rules seriously enough to punish teams for blatant disregarding them, even Italian giants like Napoli.