It’s been over 8 years since Euro 2004 ended, but Portuguese hosts from Coimbra only managed to pay for a third of their stadium. Currently almost half of the city’s debt is caused by the stadium built for UEFA’s tournament.
Last year Coimbra, city of 100,000 inhabitants, managed to pay off €1.5 million, reaching the point at which 1/3 of Estádio Cidade de Coimbra cost is covered. This doesn’t include interest (at €240,000 per year) and cost of the stadium’s operation, which is still in the red.
Most use of the ground is provided by Academica Coimbra, top tier club that only manages to draw 4,000 per game. With capacity at 30,000 reaching any profit for the city is almost impossible and other events are few.
In such conditions the stadium, build as a chance for Coimbra’s development, is proving to be a major burden. Of the city’s debts, estimated at €72 million, almost 43% are connected to the stadium. The number is decreasing, but very slowly. Over the period of 8 years Coimbra managed to pay off only 1/3 of the stadium, with €23 million (+ interest) left to pay.
President João Paulo Barbosa de Melo admits that it’s limiting the city’s potential for development, but he doesn’t plan on giving up. In order to boost local economy Coimbra lowered some of its tax rates and expects revenues to grow by €700,000 this year. It won’t solve all problems, but will surely take some weight off the debt Coimbra carries.