Austria: Sturm Graz wants to buy its home stadium

source:; author: Mateusz Osmola

Austria: Sturm Graz wants to buy its home stadium The Austrian Bundesliga club wants to buy its home venue, Merkur-Arena, from the city to make the necessary improvements to host Europe's elite football competition. UEFA, has ruled that the stadium, is unsuitable for matches from the group stage of club competitions such as the Champions League.


Arena formerly known as Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium

The stadium was originally named after bodybuilder, actor and former governor of the US state of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was born near Graz. The venue was constructed between 1996 and 1997 and is owned by Stadion Liebenau Betriebs GmbH

In December 2005 Schwarzenegger revoked the right of the city of Graz to use his name, so it was removed from the stadium. The remainder of Stadion Graz-Liebenau was removed in February 2006, and the stadium was renamed UPC-Arena the same month. In March 2016, the Austrian insurance company Merkur Versicherung secured the naming rights and the venue was renamed Merkur-Arena.

Merkur Arena© MCG, Krug

Merkur-Arena has an official capacity of 16,764 seats in 27 sections. During the Champions League matches of SK Sturm Graz, several additional platforms were built, allowing the stadium to accommodate 16,000 spectators. In addition, the stadium has a wheelchair area. On September 5, 2009, the arena hosted a World Cup qualifying match between Austria and the Faroe Islands, which ended in a 3-1 hosts' victory. Unfortunately the facility is deteriorating rapidly and today only meets UEFA category 3 requirements, which prevents it from hosting Europe's elite football games. Did you know that free spins bonuses are one of the most popular ways to attract more players at all online casinos without ROFUS?

Sturm Graz seeking to buy Merkur-Arena

SK Sturm Graz president Christian Jauk has said that the Austrian Bundesliga club wants to buy its home venue in order to make the improvements necessary to host European competition. Sturm intends to invest a double-digit amount of millions in the purchase and acquisition of the development rights, while the city of Graz would remain the owner of the land. The club would then be able to carry out renovation work while operating the facility.

Jauk told Kleine Zeitung newspaper: We want to buy the stadium. We are deeply convinced that this will be the best solution economically for the population as a whole. And we believe that this will eliminate a large number of discussions and problems. It would be a win-win solution. Jauk claims that the city of Graz has decided on short-term measures to fill the gaps of the past. What is missing is investment in the future. This means that the sword of Damocles of the suspension – in the future also for the UEFA Europa League – will remain with us for the coming years, – Jauk poetically said.

Merkur Arena© MCG, Krug

Jauk also believes that such a project would be financially achievable for the club. Due to the lack of support and loans, Graz would face financial constraints in the medium to long term. Referring to a potential timetable for reaching an agreement, he added: The political debate is therefore opened. It needs a basic commitment and a date, this vision should not become a never-ending story.