The country's second largest city host some of the largest sports venues, but cannot afford to renovate them. Spanish investors were supposed to help, but didn't. Now the city offers partnership to... Qatari government and hopes for EU subsidies, Novinite.com reports.
Inability is still the problem when it comes to stadia in Bulgaria. Country's football venues are in dire need of repairs, but major redevelopments require funding that exceeds budget constraints of cities and central government.
Plovdiv, second largest city in the country, may serve as an example with its three large stadiums that require immediate expenses. Stadion Plovdiv, the country's largest, isn't able to host major games any more and stands empty, falling into further despair.
Last year Plovdiv authorities engaged football legend Hristo Stoichkov to invite Spanish investors who were supposedly close to signing a deal and redeveloping sports infrastructure for a share in the city's commercial infrastructure. But that didn't happen in the end.
This is why now city officials issued an offer to the government of Qatar. The Arab emirate preparing for 2022 World Cup has declared to FIFA that it will support football in less privileged parts of the world, but not naming Bulgaria at any point. Will they get involved in the Plovdiv projects? We should know within a few weeks, when official response is expected.
If not Qatar, maybe the European Union? Large cities have had no opportunities to receive money for sports under operational programs so far, but this will change in the next programming period (2014-2021). Until then the city promises small repairs to keep the venues from dilapidating further.