Stade Ibn Batouta (Grand Stade de Tanger)
|Clubs||Ittihad de Tanger|
|Construction||09/2002 - 04/2011|
|Cost||MAD 844 million|
Stade Ibn Batouta – stadium description
The newly built stadium in south-western outskirts of Tangier (by the N1 national road) isn’t only the city’s largest sports facility, but the largest building overall.
Construction was marred with delays and lasted almost 9 years in the end. Began in 2002, it wasn’t delivered until 2011. And it may still seem look unfinished to some, not without purpose. Both end zones were left single-tiered, but with the footing for an upper tier to be added in the future. Similarly, the east stand already has support structures for its future roof, should funds be allocated to build one.
While a lot may still be done, the initial budget of 844 million dirhams seems a very modest one by global standards for a 45,000-seat stadium. Unfortunately price seems to match quality in some areas. Open ends create strong drafts, western roof covers barely anyone in the lower tier, while the playing field is very far from fans.
Further criticism was caused by insufficient access in early years of the stadium. Largest events cause severe congestion both in terms of traffic and turnstile crowds. The latter was reported to lead to potentially dangerous situations.
Despite all concerns the stadium will remain Tangier’s major sports venue. It was opened by a friendly tournament by Atletico Madrid, Raja Casablanca and Ittihad, while in 2015 the Cup of Nations is to be played here. Everyday use is provided by Ittihad, who struggle to fill the ground half-way. Largest crowds gather in the southern curve, where fanatic supporters cheer for their team.