Cyprus Mail

Limassol stadium costs racking up, cabinet steps in

The delay in starting the construction of the new Limassol football stadium is reportedly causing a significant dent in state finances to the tune of €1.5m so far, it emerged on Thursday.

The construction of the stadium, which began in February, was halted after a geological study found that the subsoil in part of the stadium was unstable due to the existence of construction rubble dumped there in the past.

As a result, the contractors of the project are billing the state for €300,000 per month of delay, reports said.

The cabinet on Thursday took several decisions towards resolving the problems that have arisen, which it said are rooted the “problematic or incomplete” initial plan for the stadium drawn up in 2013, which was necessarily adopted due to contractual obligations of the three Limassol football clubs Apollon, AEL, and Aris.

It decided to authorise the Cyprus Sports Organisation (KOA) to revise and complete the plan by the end of October and to address any and all problems that have arisen or that may arise in the future.

The cabinet also authorised KOA to submit a request as soon as possible so that the department of public works can be designated the project’s contracting authority.

A project management and oversight team is also to be set up by the department of public works, the cabinet decided.

It added that full consideration was taken of the warnings and recommendations made by the auditor-general earlier in the month in a letter to KOA, which stressed that if measures were not taken immediately by the state, the Limassol stadium construction project would develop into a large-scale scandal due to skyrocketing costs.

Works for the construction of the new football stadium started in February. The stadium, dubbed as the ‘Limassol Arena’, costing around €28m is due to be completed in 28 months with the first match taking place in the summer of 2021. The government already leased the land to the three clubs which were to take a loan from a bank that the government would repay.

The project was initially delayed because the stadium had to be redesigned to meet European football governing body Uefa’s Champions League specifications.

At present, all three clubs use the Tsirion stadium near the Ayia Phyla junction as their home ground that has had its share of structural problems, insufficient capacity and is located within a residential area, causing problems and damage to properties whenever football fans get riotous.

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