After two years of tenancy EC Bahia announced relocation from Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova. The club argue no offer of the operator actually valued the anchor tenants.
Yesterday EC Bahia president Marcelo Sant’Ana publicly announced that the popular “Tricolor” are leaving Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova. Two-year tenancy contract from April 2013 is to expire on April 7 and the club claim no satisfactory offer was made by the stadium operator despite extensive negotiations.
Bahia claim their efforts to bring the stadium to life weren’t appreciated throughout the 4-month long talks with Fonte Nova Negócios e Participações (FNP). “Bahia, despite the talks, did not receive a single offer in which the club and fans were valued. The club understands the difficulties of the operator and respects the position of FNP, a private company”, the club wrote in a statement.
The announcement seemed to shock FNP, who still advertise Bahia season tickets for Fonte Nova. In a brief statement the company confirmed their surprise. “FNP […] was surprised by the direction of Bahia’s position in publicly declaring they will no longer play at the arena. This is because on Friday (27/03) it was agreed by the club and consortium that there would be another round of negotiations. What is striking the board of FNP is the fact that at no time did EC Bahia raise such position, but chose to do it now, also not to our representatives, but directly to the press”, FNP wrote.
According to Bahia’s decision, the upcoming fixture against Sport Recife will be played at Pituaçu (above), the dated stadium Bahia used to play in during Fonte Nova reconstruction and on other occasions. Much smaller and less comfortable, that stadium will surely be cheaper to lease.
However, many suggest “Tricolor” are only trying get the leverage on FNP by threatening to leave. After Vitória didn’t agree to play all games at Fonte Nova, Bahia are the sole football tenant of the new arena. If they relocate, financial prospects of the stadium will be devastating. Whether it’s a negotiation strategy or an actual relocation, we’ll see in upcoming days, maybe weeks.