Austria: Scandal in Klagenfurt, court finds stands “illegal”

source: StadiumDB.com

Austria: Scandal in Klagenfurt, court finds stands “illegal” Euro 2008 host ground in Klagenfurt is costing the city way too much, both financially and in terms of bad publicity. Court has now closed most sections of the building and important games are cancelled.

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Wörthersee Stadion in Klagenfurt is one more great example how the use of temporary seating may go wrong. This Austrian resort initially planned to hold Euro 2008 with 32,000 seats and then downsize the building by roughly 20,000. That planned had to be revised soon after UEFA left the building.

The city decided to retain the temporary upper ring of stands, because no-one was rushing to cover the high cost of their removal (€10 million). A contract was signed with the Austrian FA to hold some international games and domestic cup final here. This made the 30,000+ version somewhat viable despite lack of strong tenant on a weekly basis.

Worthersee Stadion

To make the temporary upper stands permanent, the city paid well more than dismantling them would have consumed. The project’s price tag inflated from €66.5 million to some €100 million currently ($112m).

Was this better than downsizing the venue? That question gained a new meaning last week, when court ruled that the upper ring is in fact illegal. When initial construction permit was issued, no long-term analysis for capacity of over 30,000 was carried out. StadiumDB also understands there was no construction permit for the works ordered to improve the temporary structure.

Court’s decision effectively sealed off the entire upper ring, decreasing capacity to 12,000. That in turn resulted in the Austrian FA today cancelling the deal and taking its important fixtures elsewhere with immediate effect.

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