President Nicos Anastasiades yesterday pledged Limassol a new stadium for the town's top football club sides following a meeting with sports and Finance Ministry officials.
Last year, the chairmen of AEL, Apollon and Aris entered into discussions with private investors and the state in order to get funding to build a new stadium in the Kolossi area. But their efforts were hampered by the current economic crisis.
Speaking after yesterdays' top level meeting at the Presidential Palace, deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos announced the following decisions:
- The construction of the stadium will go ahead as planned and will be located on the land in Kolossi owned by local football clubs Apollon, AEL and Aris.
- The state, within a time period of 30 days, will look into facilitating the lease of the land to the clubs in order to aid in the construction of the stadium. Several aspects with regards to the value of the land will be reevaluated in order to examine the possibility of a bank loan.
- A technical committee will be set up to evaluate the process with regards to construction costs.
- The introduction of a ministry sub-committee will, along with the Cyprus Sports Organisation and the technical services of the state, examine the issue of funding construction.
- Within the next 30 days, the necessary concessions and maintenance on the Tsirio Stadium will need to be undertaken to ensure safety standards for the next three years - the time needed to construct the new stadium in Limassol.
The value of the stadium is set to put the taxpayer back some €15million - some €8m less than the original cost estimate last year - and will have a seating capacity of around 12,000 spectators.
The Tsirio Stadium has remained the town's only major football ground since it was first constructed in 1975 but poor maintenance has resulted in what was once the island's biggest sports complex - taking a backseat to other more lavish venues such as Nicosia's GSP Stadium.
The stadium also serves as the home ground to the Limassol Athletics Club (GSO) who are in turn responsible for running the daily operations there.