Who will play at the stadium in Kharkiv will be decided in the near future. Perhaps it will be one club, maybe even two. For now, we know for sure that the facility changes ownership.
City council becomes new owner of arena
On June 10, Stadion Metalist was transferred from communal property of Kharkiv region communities to municipal property of the city of Kharkiv. Thus, the facility became a municipal stadium. The decision of deputies was motivated by desire to ensure continuity for FC Metalist.
Most importantly, the stadium cannot be privatised, because such arrangements were made at the meeting on that day. The city undertook to carry out necessary maintenance of the ground in the future.
This month, an inventory check is performed at the club complex (stadium, training facilities and children's academy). On July 14, the complex is to be officially incorporated into municipal property of Kharkiv.
Until 2007, the largest stadium in Kharkiv was owned by the city, but just before Euro 2012 it was jointly owned by regional communities. Then, in 2013, it was sold to Sergey Kurchenko, the new owner of Metalist. After he refused to meet his investment commitments and Metalist collapsed in 2016, the arena returned to the region's communities.
© Валерий Дед
Two clubs or one?
Oleksandr Yaroslavsky, who owns the rights to the name and crest of FC Metalist, intends to rename FC Metal (founded in 2020) to FC Metalist and thus bring this legendary club to life. In the recently completed season, FC Metal was promoted to the second tier of Ukrainian football. While nominally Metal played at a smaller ground, the long term goal is to nestle in the largest ground of the region.
To make it more interesting, another club, Metalist 1925, which in the 2020/21 season was promoted to Premier Liga, also plays at Stadion Metalist.
On June 16, the Ukrainian media reported that negotiations were underway for Yaroslavsky's club to replace Metalist 1925 in Premier Liga. In this way, FC Metal would jump from the second tier to the first thanks to the impact force of its owner.
Since the businessman has the rights to the name of Metalist, it’s possible to rebrand Metalist 1925 to Avangard. Everything is to be clarified in the coming days or weeks.
We should note that there’s immense demand for football success in Kharkiv, after the turbulent 5 years. FC Metal’s crucial game against Kryvbas in late May drew a record crowd of 38,500 people. Keep in mind, it was a third league game. Meanwhile, Metalist 1925 set the record for its second tier with 13,174 people against Odessa.
The last major revamp of Kharkiv’s stadium was carried out prior to Euro 2012. Three matches of the tournament (Group B) took place at Stadion Metalist. Shakhtar Donetsk also played here its home games as part of the Champions League and Ukraine's top division, having been forced out of Donetsk.
Author: Tomasz Sobura