Stadio delle Palme, stands denied to the public for the athletics championships for the disabled: it is controversial

One week after the silver athletics final, which took place in front of a large audience, the Municipality denies access to the stands of the Stadio delle Palme on the occasion of the Fisdir-Trofeo Fortezzza regional athletics championships. A real short circuit, which is raising a fuss inside and outside the town hall.

“Parents and fans from all over Sicily remained outside the ‘Vito Schifani’ gate; while on the weekend of 18 and 19 September the stands were accessible with an exception”. Denouncing what he defines as an “unfortunate event” is Francesco Prestigiacomo, secretary of Vivi Sano Sport (sports club that organized the event), as well as the father of Matteo, a young autistic athlete. “Normodotati yes, disabled no. In Palermo inclusion is practiced only in words, in reality rights are denied” underlines Prestigiacomo, pointing the finger at the Municipality. Why this sudden change from one weekend to the next? The Stadio delle Palme, as is well known, has not yet obtained accessibility after the renovations completed a year and a half ago. The authorization for sports facilities with structures specifically intended for the public (grandstands, stands, chairs …) is granted by a municipal body which responds to the name of the Commission for the use of public entertainment. Well, the same commission that said yes at the entrance of the fans on the occasion of the Silver final, then denied access to the Fisdir regional athletics championships (National sports federation that organizes activities for athletes with intellectual and relational disabilities) . The story provoked the wrath of the organizers of the event who brought 12 companies from all over the island to Palermo, for a total of 120 athletes with intellectual and relational disabilities, but they had to compete behind closed doors. At the same time, what happened embarrasses – and not a little – the municipal administration. Which, through the councilor for Sport, Paolo Petralia Camassa, reconstructs the facts as follows: “The public entertainment commission did not grant the authorization, because the request came late. A decision that surprises and embitters us, because the week before all the documents were ok. We even solved a problem with the generator that was missing. For us it was obvious that the green light would also be given during the Fisdir regional athletics championships. The commission chaired by Renzo Botindari, however, decided otherwise ” . Petralia does not hide his disappointment and has already set an urgent meeting this week “to normalize the situation: the administration’s indication – he says – is that the commission does not give authorizations for every single event but for a longer period of time, at least six months”. The omelette, however, is now done. And now the organizers of the event would like to leave Palermo. “What happened is incredible – Prestigiacomo remarks – we are evaluating the hypothesis of organizing the Fisdir 2022 Italian Athletics Championships, scheduled in Palermo on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Capaci massacre, in another city or in a sports facility other than the Stadio delle Palme “. Palermo could therefore lose the sporting appointment next May with the athletics championships for the intellectually disabled. For the president of the sports council commission, Francesco Bertolino (Italia Viva), it would be “a setback”: “The umpteenth for the Municipality – he says – that it should have acted as ‘director’ and put together the organizers of the two events to have in both cases, the ok for the public to enter the stands of the Stadio delle Palme and instead showed little programming. So the wrong message was passed, given that these leagues are reserved for disabled people “.

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