The Dutch Willem II will pay € 6.9 million for the purchase of the stadium where the Tilburg team plays its league matches. The investment is supposed to pay off for the club, but it is not certain whether it will come to fruition.
From the information made available, we know that Willem II will pay € 4.9 million for the stadium, and another 2 million will have to be allocated to the necessary investments related to security at the facility. This is a requirement of the planned contract. The land under the stadium will remain the property of the city, and the club will pay € 100,000 per year for a lease for up to 90 years.
Built in 1995, Koning Willem II Stadion belonged to the club in the past. In 2004, however, Willem II fell into debt and sold the building to the city. In connection with the improvement of the financial situation, talks on buying back the venue began in 2017. This year in December, the parties announced the planned transaction and its terms.
After purchasing the stadium, the club plans to invest eg. in turnstiles, convert some of the stands into safe standing sections, increase the number of catering points and toilets, and install a modern monitoring system. All works related to the safety and comfort of fans are to be completed by September 2023.
The investment is to pay off quickly for the club. Currently, Willem II pays € 1.2 million per year for the use of the facility. In addition, there are management and maintenance costs, which are also on the side of the club. Thanks to the purchase of the stadium, Willem II is to save around € 0.5 million annually. The funds generated in this way are to be allocated to the players' budget.
Willem's authorities also see the fact that they will now be able to make strategic decisions about the stadium themselves. - We have other priorities than the municipality, for example the comfort of fans and the securing of the building. The management of such a facility is not the core activity of the municipality - says Martin van Geel, managing director at the Dutch club.
The situation can be described as win-win, because the city representatives also talk about the benefits. The municipality will not have to be responsible for the facility, while ensuring that the club will take care of investments in security at the stadium.
In addition, the terms and circumstances of the contract mean that the annual costs of the club's operation will be lower. Therefore, the city has more confidence that Willem II will not fall into debt again. Another benefit for the local government is a one-time injection of € 4.9 million.
What threatens the contract?
Everything looks beautiful on paper, but it is still uncertain whether the transaction will be finalized. The first risk is that the club has not yet secured financing for the investment. Willem II plans to pay some of the required € 6.9 million in equity and the remainder through a bank loan.
However, Dutch banks no longer provide loans to professional football organizations. Therefore, the club is negotiating with German banks and has not yet communicated any specific findings on this matter.
The second problem may be the current condition of the facility and delays in maintenance works. The club recently conducted an investigation and inspection of the building.
When spectators can re-enter the stadium, another vibration measurement will take place. So far, director Van Geel has studied the reports only briefly and in his opinion the condition of the facility appears to be acceptable at the moment.
Author: Rafał Zagrobelny