State subsidy for national stadium is uncertain

The Education Ministry still has not received permission to allocate money for the stadium’s completion from the EC, while the construction works are late.

The construction of the stadium started in September 2016.The construction of the stadium started in September 2016. (Source: SME)

The National Football Stadium in Bratislava still lacks the permission needed from the European Commission and its construction is a little behind schedule.

The stadium, where the football club Slovan Bratislava, owned by tycoon Ivan Kmotrík, will play, has received a subsidy amounting to €75 million from the government. The sum is expected to be used to purchase the stadium after it is completed in 2018.

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If the EC does not approve the subsidy, the government will not be able to complete the stadium, though, the Sme daily reported.

The construction of the National Football Stadium in Bratislava, carried out by the company Strabag, started last year. At the same time, the state launched talks with EC officials. They, however, are still not sure whether the state support is in compliance with the state aid rules.

As a result, the EC asked Education Minister Peter Plavčan, whose department is also responsible for the sports agenda, for additional information. The ministry sent it in early March.

Read also: National stadium to be completed in early 2018 Read more 

“The Education Ministry still has not received the current statement of the Commission on the application or information as to when it will issue the final decision on the state aid,” the ministry informed in a document submitted for the government’s session, as quoted by Sme.

The government has so far interrupted the discussion on the document and will return to it at the next session scheduled for April 12, said ministry spokesperson Ivana Skokanová.

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Despite the lack of the EC permission, 18 percent of the subsidy (or nearly €9 million) has already been spent. The total cost of the gross construction amounts to nearly €50 million. Further millions of euros will be spent on other equipment, such as the sound system installation, the TV screens, the lights and the security elements. The capacity of the stadium is designed for 23,000 people, Sme wrote.

Due to bad weather conditions, the construction works are about three months behind. This however should not endanger the scheduled completion of the stadium in late 2018, according to the daily.

The plan to construct the National Football Stadium was introduced by the first Robert Fico government (2006-2010), but was stopped by the Iveta Radičová cabinet (2010-2012). Subsequently, Kmotrík decided to build the stadium on his own. The second Robert Fico government (2012-2016) decided to contribute €27.2 million to its construction.

The government later decided to purchase the stadium for about €75 million after it is completed.

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