Stadion Balgarska Armia

Capacity16 000
Country Bulgaria
ClubsCSKA Sofia
CategoryDesign awaiting implementation
CostBGN 90 M


Stadion Balgarska Armia – design description

Why does CSKA Sofia need a new stadium?

The CSKA Sofia stadium was built in the interwar period. It took its current shape after reconstruction in 1965-1967, with floodlights installed in 1982 and plastic seats in 1998. The facility is located in the Borisov gradina park, not far from the national stadium. Its capacity is over 22,000 spectators.

The stadium has been in poor technical condition for some time. In the 21st century, it had problems meeting the licensing requirements of the national football association. In order to remedy this, only ad hoc renovations were carried out on the stadium. CSKA Sofia is one of the country's most successful and popular clubs, but the deteriorating stadium is undermining its reputation.

How were the ideas for a new stadium for CSKA Sofia formed?

As early as April 2005, when CSKA was owned by Vasil Bozhkov, the club presented the first project to build a new stadium on the site of the current facility. The new arena was to be without an athletics track and the stands could seat up to 45,000 fans. The cost was estimated at 100 million leva and construction was to take four years. Plans also included upgrading the club's training facilities.

Nothing ultimately came of the ambitious vision. Subsequent club officials, however, were not willing to give up and the following years saw a real outburst of new designs. In 2009, CSKA presented its second concept, followed a year later by a new 30,000-seater stadium designed by British architects KSS. In 2011, a new vision (capacity: 22,000) was developed by Bulgarian studio Design Initiatives. In 2012, another Bulgarian studio, ATM Architects, prepared a concept to expand the existing facility to a capacity of 28,400 spectators.

Neither of these ideas lived to see realisation. However, the club did not give up on its intentions and, in spring 2019, presented three more proposals for a new stadium, created by Design Initiatives, Vamos and DESET Architects respectively. However, all of these designs were eventually scrapped.

City council deputy chairman Borislav Ignatov, an architect by profession, also wanted to help the cause by preparing his own concept, which was published in early 2022. Ignatov proposed the construction of a football stadium for around 25,000 spectators, based partly on the already existing earth embankments. According to a loose estimate, the project would have cost around €50 million and would have taken two years to complete. However, the club rejected the proposal, claiming that it was not in line with its expectations.

When was the latest stadium concept for CSKA Sofia created?

In June 2022, the club announced that it had started working with German company Sportfive. This enterprise is to be responsible for the design and construction of the new stadium, followed by its management for a period of 30 years.

In November 2022, initial renderings of the new design emerged and more details of the future development were provided. Since then, the club has published new information on the project, making it clear that this time the plans for the new stadium are more advanced than ever before. On 24 April 2023 new details and renderings were shown.

What are the ideas behind the latest stadium concept for CSKA Sofia?

The new CSKA Sofia stadium will be built on the site of the existing Bulgarian Army Stadium, which is to be demolished. The new venue will have a capacity of 16,000 spectators. The stadium will have a rectangular, football-specific layout, without an athletics track. The facility will be equipped with a heated turf with a hybrid surface. Single-level stands will surround the pitch on all sides.

The main stand will be located on the north side and will be separated from the rest of the auditorium. Facilities under this stand will include changing rooms, a conference room, hospitality area, restaurant or club shop, as well as an underground car park. Catering and toilets will be available throughout the stadium. The stands will be fully covered by a roof and enclosed by a façade.

The new stadium will occupy a smaller area than its predecessor and there will be no interference with the surrounding parkland. Furthermore, by reducing the facility's outline, the additional space will be used to create new green areas. The stadium will also benefit from cost-effective and environmentally friendly solutions, including the use of rainwater and solar energy.

When will the new stadium for CSKA Sofia be built?

If procedural problems do not stand in the way, demolition of the old facility could start in the summer of 2023. The new stadium is scheduled to open before the start of the 2025/26 season. The estimated cost of the investment is around 80-90 million leva, which is expected to come from the club's owners and private investors.