Atletico Madrid fans' group Senales de Humo, longstanding critics of the club's current hierarchy, have launched a legal challenge which could delay plans to move to the Wanda Metropolitano stadium for the 2017-18 season.
Work is currently continuing at the Wanda Metropolitano to get it ready for the new campaign, with Atletico's board having said an emotional goodbye to its home of 50 years the Vicente Calderon at the end of the last campaign.
The construction includes landscaping and transport provision links agreed with the city council when the club purchased the site of Madrid's former "La Peineta" Olympic stadium for €60 million.
The legality of this agreement has now been called into question by Senales de Humo, who say their experience of the club's dealings under current owners Miguel Angel Gil Marin and Enrique Cerezo has led them to want to ensure all is being done correctly.
"ASdH challenges the changes being made to the area during the construction of the so-called Estadio Wanda Metropolitano and its surroundings," the statement said. "The legal challenge has fallen to the Seccion Primera de la Sala de lo Contencioso Administrativo del Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Madrid, who have previously found in favour of other challenges made by Asociacion Senales de Humo, specifically in the area Mahou-Calderon.
"The principal motive to present this challenge is that, just like on other occasions, our statutes oblige us to make sure that all actions taken by Atletico Madrid are undertaken within strict legality. Given the previous record of the directors and illegitimate owners of the club, Miguel Angel Gil Marin and Enrique Cerezo, we understand that it is necessary to test the legality of everything they propose."
The ASdH statement lays out seven areas where there are potential issues -- including whether the correct authorities have given permission to build on the site, the number of parking spaces planned and potential noise levels during games.
With the new La Liga season set to start on Aug. 19, although that date will not be confirmed until July 20, Atletico may ask the authorities to play their opening fixtures away from home to give them until early September to get everything ready.
ASdH are also asking Atletico's hierarchy to consider beginning the new campaign back in the Calderon, which has recently hosted events including a Guns N' Roses concert and Monster Truck Rally.
"We understand that these irregularities will impact on the future granting of a licence to use the so-called Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, and we are asking for this to be halted until they are resolved," the statement said. "So we ask the club to make the preparations necessary in case of a lack of authorisation to use [the new stadium] next season, given that the Estadio Vicente Calderon remains in a perfect state of use."
Atletico first talked about leaving the Calderon for "La Peineta" on the other side of the city almost three decades ago, but the project was held up at various times for financial, logistical and legal reasons -- including challenges from Senales de Humo which led to a January 2014 ruling by Spain's Supreme Court in which the initial takeover was declared "fraudulent."
The move was finally organised when Gil Marin and Cerezo secured funding from both Chinese investors Wanda Group and Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim to finance the works required to turn the old athletics stadium into a state-of-the-art 70,000-seater football ground.