This would be a huge embarrassment, but according to Alain Courtois it’s increasingly likely that Brussels could be stripped of Euro 2020. Meanwhile conflict between investor and local council is heating up.
The Brussels national stadium saga is inevitably getting closer to its end. Except that it might be a very bad end for the project, if developer Ghelamco runs out of time and won’t be able to build the 61,000+ stadium in time for Euro 2020.
Yesterday this issue was debated in the Brussels city council. Alain Courtois, who’s an enthusiast of the project, reminded everyone that UEFA dropping Brussels from the host list is a real option, should the stadium not be built.
“There is no plan B and there won’t be one”, Courtois said, arguing there is no option, nor desire, to renovate the current Koenig Boudewijn Stadion, just across the street from its planned successor. Should the pessimistic scenario materialize, UEFA might demand damages from Brussels, not mentioning the negative publicity.
Impasse in Grimbergen
Courtois suggested that construction needs to begin in the summer at the latest, or else the stadium would not be finished in time. but despite planning application being filed for three months now, there’s no telling whether the stadium will be greenlighted.
It all hangs on the Grimbergen municipality’s approval. Meanwhile on January 26 local council voted against demolition of a local road that lies almost at the heart of the development. That decision isn’t final but requires further proceedings.
Ghelamco are arguing there is no time for such steps. The developer went as far as to suggest obstructionism by some politicians, threatening to take legal action against the municipality if it continues.
Archeological works begin
Tired of waiting and with no spare time on their hands, Ghelamco began archeological works on the site this week. While controversial with the heated atmosphere, this step is legal and precedes actual construction. Ghelamco are bound by law to limit their interference on site to only necessary works. Without Grimbergen’s approval major excavation and construction cannot begin.