Košická Futbalová Aréna
|Cost||€ 16.1 M ($ 17.6 M)|
|Design||HESCON, adif architects (chief architect Csaba Ambrus)|
|Contractor||AVA-stav, OHL ŽS SK|
|Address||Pri prachárni 13, 040 11 Košice|
Košická Futbalová Aréna – stadium description
How did the construction of the new football stadium in Košice happen?
In 1997, the 30,000-seat Všešportový areál was closed down due to planned reconstruction. However, the work never came to fruition, and the stadium was permanently out of use until it was demolished in 2011. The main football venue in Košice thus became Lokomotívy's Štadión, which is, however, far from meeting high standards.
Even in the first decade of the 21st century, the state of football infrastructure in Slovakia looked very poor. However, this eventually began to change with the construction of modern facilities in Bratislava, Trnava or Dunajská Streda and the modernisation of smaller stadiums. Also in Košice, the second largest city in the country, serious discussions began about building a new arena.
In order to build a new stadium, on June 16 2014 the city established the Košická Futbalová Aréna a.s., which was to be responsible for the construction and subsequent management of the new facility. In the same year, a €4 million grant was obtained from the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport, as well as an interest-free, 10-year loan of €8 million from the Ministry of Finance.
The new stadium was to be built in the southern part of the city, not far from the site of the former Všešportový areál. In order to keep the previously raised funds, construction had to start before the end of 2015, so preparatory work and archaeological research began in November 2015. In the following years, however, construction did not go beyond site preparation work.
Who designed the new football stadium in Košice? The first, unrealized plans called for the construction of a stadium for 9080 spectators. The final design was prepared by HESCON and adif architects. The main architect of the stadium was Csaba Ambrus. The concept was to create a modern, football-specific facility with a simple, rectangular form and single-level stands around the pitch. The stadium was to hold 12,625 spectators and meet UEFA Category IV requirements.
The architectural concept of Košická Futbalová Aréna can be viewed on a separate subpage
When was the first phase of construction of the new football stadium in Košice carried out?
The tender for the construction of the stadium was announced in February 2017, but it was not awarded until March 2018. The consortium of AVA-stav and OHL ŽS SK became the main contractor. The contract was signed on April 17, 2018, with a value of €19.47 million. The first months after the contract was signed were mainly devoted to the preparation of design documentation and obtaining permits.
The symbolic start of the actual construction work took place on October 29, 2018. Due to budgeting problems, it was decided to divide the construction into phases. Initially, two stands along the pitch were to be built, the realisation of the stands behind the goals was to take place next and was conditional on securing funding. The first phase was to be completed by the end of 2019.
The anticipated commissioning date could not be met. Due to an increase in UEFA and national association requirements, necessary changes were made to the project and the total cost increased to €20.82 million, with the first phase expected to cost more than €16 million. Construction was also hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two new stands were completed at the end of 2020. In January 2021, commissioning was carried out, but the facility still lacked equipment and turf. Finally, it was only after a year that the stadium was able to be put into use, and the first meeting - a friendly match between FC Košice and FK Slavoj Trebišov (2:0) - was played on February 12, 2022.
What are the characteristics of Košická Futbalová Aréna?
With two stands along the pitch, the facility can accommodate 5836 spectators. The main stand is located on the west side. It is equipped with, amongst other things, four changing rooms, a medical office, technical facilities, social and administrative rooms, media areas, restaurants and even a chapel. The sub-tribune has been given four storeys (including one underground), and from the outside the building takes the form of a glass pavilion.
The other parts of the stands are shielded from the outside by a steel substructure clad in a translucent grey material. The façade has been given an original, granular form. At night, the facility can be illuminated. Parking spaces and green areas were created around the stadium.
Folding seats have been installed in the stands of the stadium, which form a mosaic consisting of white and shades of grey. The stands are fully covered by a roof with glazed end sections. Floodlights have been mounted on the roof. The stadium is equipped with a pitch with heated turf.
When will Košická Futbalová Aréna be fully completed?
Ultimately, the facility is to receive a rectangular, enclosed layout. In December 2021, the Slovak government approved a further €4 million in funding to enable the construction of stands behind the goals. Their development started on April 17, 2023 and is expected to be completed in the spring of 2024. Plans are still underway for a football academy, which would be built around the stadium and include four full-size training pitches. The construction of the academy is expected to cost a further €4 million.
A coverage of the second phase of the construction of Košická Futbalová Aréna can be found on a separate subpage
Who does Košická Futbalová Aréna serve?
After the opening of the two stands, the facility meets the requirements of UEFA Category III, and after the addition of the stands behind the goals, it will be able to accommodate 12,625 spectators and will meet the requirements of UEFA Category IV. The stadium is hosted by FC Košice, who were promoted to the Fortuna Liga in 2023. After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the players of SC Dnipro-1 played their matches in European competition at this stadium. The facility can also host a variety of non-sporting events and activities.
It is envisaged that the Slovak national football team will occasionally play at the stadium when it is fully completed. The stadium is also expected to be one of the arenas for the European Under-21 Championship, which will be held in Slovakia in 2025. The facility can also host a variety of non-sporting events and activities.