Juventus Italian Sport Club, a hub for expats and the shrinking Italian community in Ethiopia, has been served its final notice to vacate its premises by the Ethiopian Agency for Government Housing.
“Because you have been occupying the property at Wereda 18, Kebele 06 and house number 552, and as it was supposed to have been transferred to the government, it is to be noted you were holding to the property illegally,” the letter sent to the management of Club Juventus from the Agency for Government Houses read. “You have ignored our repeated letters to vacate the property and as you have exhausted all the appeals that are granted to you, a final decision on the matter was granted on November 29, 2016”.
The letter also ordered the management to pay up until May 17, 2017, in person at the office of the government agency and hand the property immediately. It also said, unless the order is respected, the agency would have no option, but to use government order 555/2000 and take immediate ownership of the 10,000sqm property.
The management launched a public petition on a popular website earlier this year, calling the decision to evict them as being unfair. The petition netted 295 signatories.
“An unexpected and unfair court ruling has given the Agency of Government Houses ownership of our club! We need your support to help overrule the court’s decision in order to keep our club running to serve our future generations”, the petition read.
There have been ongoing lawsuits from the heirs, in particular from Ketsela Dehene for the return of the property for decades. Juventus started its operation in 1958, leasing lands from Fitawrari Teshome Birru, but that arrangement was voided when the Derg regime transferred its ownership to the state.