Atletico Madrid stadium proposal hits new snag

Atletico Madrid's plans to move their stadium for the start of the 2016-17 season have taken another blow -- with the Madrid town hall questioning the "real viability" of the project.

A €240 million scheme to develop former 20,000-capacity La Peineta athletics stadium into an ultra-modern 69,000-seater football ground, was announced by Atletico back in 2009.

That original plan had Atletico installed in their new home by 2012, with a 30-storey tower to be developed on the site of their current city centre Estadio Vicente Calderon and an adjacent site which previously featured a now-demolished Mahou beer factory.

The project has been hit by setbacks including planning issues, the bursting a property bubble in Spain and Madrid's unsuccessful bid to host the 2020 Olympics.

Atletico have regularly maintained that the plan will go ahead, and in August it was reported that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim was to invest €150-170 million to ensure the redeveloped stadium would be ready for the start of the 2017-18 campaign.

That looks less likely now after a recently elected new Madrid city government has looked into the original deal done between Atletico and the previous administration, amid ongoing wrangling between the city hall and the regional authorities.

Answering questions on the issue from opposition politicians, the current chief of Sustainable Urban Development, Jose Manuel Calvo, said that "a path to explore is that the move does not take place" amid concerns over the project's "real viability" with "real doubts" about past planning decisions.

El Pais say that Atletico are not willing to pay an extra €40 million which is now being requested by the regional authorities, and have "an ace up their sleeve" as the original agreement included an "indemnification" of €200 million due to the club should the move not take place.