Risk of eviction or, as the lawyers more elegantly define it, of early release for the Villa Flaminia sports center, Flaminio district, more or less at the height of the Olympic Theater which is a few hundred meters away.
The story is one that has unfortunately been very common in the last two years: between Covid and the increases in the energy bill, the Villa Flaminia Center is unable to pay the annual fees. According to the centre’s lawyers, there is talk of fees of half a million euros a year but they prefer not to specify the centre’s debt and how much it has actually reached. The property of the area, the provincial Congregation of the Brothers of the Christian Schools better known as the Lasallians – a lay congregation of the Catholic Church founded by Saint John Baptist de La Salle in the second half of the 1600s – want those canons and are willing to evict the current management. Which has been there for 35 years, led by Luigi Barelli, with a dozen direct employees and over a hundred collaborators.
Bills, how to waste less (and save at the end of the month)? The 5 rules, from the kitchen to the radiators
We are talking about one of the largest private sports centers in Rome: 7 gym and fitness rooms, three swimming pools, one of which is semi-Olympic, an eight-a-side football pitch, an athletics track, three tennis courts, a children’s playground, a Provençal-style chalet for parties, and a restaurant. Although there were dozens of noisy children playing on the soccer fields, some with a ball of newspapers, although there were people in the pool doing water aerobics or in the gym doing weights, «the season ticket numbers of past years are no longer available. Now, if all goes well, the subscriptions are made quarterly, not even annual anymore », they explain from the Sports Center.
«The problem – explains Luigi Barelli – arose with Covid which brought down enrollments and then with the increase in the energy bill. Swimming pools and gyms are large environments that need to be air-conditioned all year round. With costs that have recently increased by as much as 500 percent. Despite this and despite the equally high maintenance costs, maintenance that did not stop due to Covid, we have made investments to maintain the high quality standards of the sports offer”.
But that’s not enough. Payment delays have piled up. And the property has decided to terminate the relationship.
“These rumors around Christmas – Barelli adds sadly – are very heavy for all of us, for our 120 collaborators and for our 10 employees”.
However, the rumors are very concrete: in recent weeks, the property has tried to regain possession of the area and the structures. After an initial mediation, on 2 December the owners reappeared with the bailiff and the carabinieri. New mediation and new postponement but in this case with the closure of one of the external camps with seals. On the 12th there could be the affixing of the definitive seals. Unless the judiciary intervenes. «In reality we have a hearing in the Court set for December 9th. On this occasion, the judiciary will decide. We think that the request for early release will be rejected», say the lawyers of the Sports Center who do not want to reveal the defense cards.
We have tried to contact the school management several times, which owns the entire complex, but without success: “The director is busy with the class councils” was the answer.