In the first response from the municipality of Florence, Vice Mayor Dario Nardella spoke exclusively to Radio Six and made it clear that the municipality does not like the fact, but its hands are tied as the decision is in Fiorentina's hands.
Speaking to Radio Six, Nardella was asked whether the decision of Lotito was a provocation to CONI.
"Yes this is exactly provocation" answered Nardella. "We as a city do not like this fact, but we have an agreement with Fiorentina which gives them the right to use Artemio Franchi for any sporting incident as long as they inform the municipality about it. If the issue was up to us, we would have refused it for a variety of reasons, including the fact that Artemio Franchi is in a highly crowded area, and everytime a game occurs we have much responsibilities in terms of security, logistics, and mobility. Moreover, for the people of Rome who like Lazio, it will be sad to see Lazio playing outside Roma. We would definitely not like Fiorentina playing outside Florence." elaborated Nardella.
Asked whether it was Fiorentina who made the deal with Lotito and whether the municipality has a say, Nardella answered:
"We were recently informed by Fiorentina of this fact. Yes Fiorentina has given permission to Lazio to use the stadium, apparently the two clubs have a good relationship. But if it were up to us, we know that the presence of Lazio fans will create many problems. The relationship between the fans is not the best. How this agreement saw the light is very strange." said Nardella.
Asked what steps will the municipality take, Nardella seemed helpless.
"We have sent our message to Fiorentina, we told them what is our position, but due to the agreement we have with them, the decision is theirs. Now of course our opinions hold value, but the decision I repeat is for Fiorentina. Our opinion is that the presence of Lazio fans here in Florence is not something we like."
Asked whether Nardella contacted Lotito..
"Lotito did not speak to us, nor he even bothered to ask the mayor of Florence about his opinion. Its as if the stadium is a place where you go play football and come back." thundered Nardella.
On another front, Petrucci the president of CONI found it hard to absorb the shock. Asked about his opinion, Petrucci said: "It is just sad, what Lotito did was smart, but it will only work temporarily."
Sandro Mencucci, Fiorentina CEO, has confirmed the deal with Lotito: "Yes Lazio filed Artimio Franchi as a replacement for Olimpico in their UEFA license, but I think the issue will be solved. I think that 99.9% Lazio will end up playing in Olimpico but in case things stumbled, they will play their games in Artimio Franchi."