Presentation of new FC Shakhtar stadium project.
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August 31, Donbass Palace hotel hosted a presentation of new FC Shakhtar stadium project. The press-conference dedicated to the event was attended by: President of FC Shakhtar Donetsk Rinat Akhmetov, Chairman of Donetsk Oblast Council of the Peoples Deputies and President of Donetsk Oblast Football Federation Boris Kolesnikov, new stadium Construction Project Director Austin Reilly, construction architects Jay Parrish and Stephen Burrows, and representatives of: FC Shakhtar Supervisory Board, Club title sponsor DCC company, Football Federation of Ukraine, Ukrainian Professional Football League, Donetsk State Administration, project group from Bovis Lend Lease, ArupSport and Northcroft, and representatives of 47 mass media from Donetsk region, Ukraine, Russia and foreign media including leading Ukrainian, Russian and overseas TV channels.
President of FC Shakhtar Donetsk Rinat Akhmetov:
— Good afternoon, dear friends. I am very pleased to see you, and first of all I would like to express my gratitude to the representatives of UEFA, National Football Federation of Ukraine, Ukrainian Professional Football League, and, of course, to the representatives of mass media for your finding time and opportunity to visit our region, and above all, for your continuous profound interest to new FC Shakhtar projects.
The wise men say, that we should treat each day as small life and enjoy each day we live. But most often people live with dreams and memories. For several years already, FC Shakhtar has been living with the dream (and that means looking into the future) — to build a 5-star stadium in Donetsk. The budget and seating capacity of the stadium changed several times this year. Initially, I was saying that the stadium's seating capacity would be for 33 thousand audience, and the budget — 100 million dollars. On the meeting with fans I made some corrections saying that seating capacity would be for 40 thousand, and budget — 100 million. After deep analysis and long discussions we reached a conclusion that seating capacity would be for 50 thousand, and budget (God help us to fit in!) — 200 million dollars.
— Today's conference is a historic moment for the club. It is known for a long time that FC Shakhtar Donetsk aspires to rank among the elite European clubs. Certain steps towards that aim have already been made: training camp has been built; the team annually play in UEFA Champions League. And the stadium, of course, is a part of that process. When I was offered to head this project, I could not resist. This is a really wonderful project. This is a glorious time when it is possible to become a part of FC Shakhtar family. That is why my being here is a real pleasure for me, Mister President.
Then Austin Reilly told about his football and business experience….
- Construction of the stadium is a complex process that takes a lot of time. There is a wide range of factors such as financial, technical and project ones with each of them being equally important. Real professionals are involved to implement this project. Let me also tell that the opening day and the venue itself will be very spectacular.
And now I will briefly tell about the project. This will be a new building intended both for players and the audience. As at any modern stadiums, it will have seats for VIP-visitors, sponsors and the club members. The club also took care of the family entertainment and of people with disabilities, for which it is envisaged to have special facilities like parking, passages between the aisles, toilets etc. I won't go into details. The architect will be the best to tell about that. I will only touch five new criteria on which the project is based.
First of all, the recreation area. The stadium will be built in the Lenin Komsomol Park - the area that has an unusual natural beauty and historic significance for all people of Donetsk. The stadium has to harmonically fit into the architectural environment.
Secondly, the stadium should have a design that would remain in people's memory. This should be a stadium looking at which you could say: "This is FC Shakhtar stadium".
Thirdly, it should meet high standards set by UEFA and FIFA, as the President said, to be accredited as a five-star stadium.
The stadium should meet international safety standards. Players, coaches, spectators and the stadium personnel should feel safe.
Fourthly, the pitch. It doesn't make sense to build the five-star stadium if its pitch will not be good enough.
And lastly, the stadium will have additional facilities. Those will be the museum and entertainment centre for visitors, where people will be able to learn about FC Shakhtar's history, which will be interesting for younger generation, the club cafe and mega-market.
As the architect will show you, the stadium will be an extraordinary beautiful building. It will combine elegance and simplicity. This option is perfect for the Lenin Komsomol Park. And I am sure that the stadium will become one of the city's symbols.
Stadiums are civic objects, which are the pride of the people that live in the city. They become more and more complex structures as the stadium in Japan, for example, where the roof opens and closes based on the weather conditions. Stadiums should have an entertainment industry, so that thousands of people that go there could have a good time and not only watch football. The new FC Shakhtar stadium will be that kind of venue.
When we were designing Bavaria Munich stadium, we analysed a range of new approaches. We participated in the construction project of the stadium, where it would be possible to play not only football, but also rugby and one of the Scottish ball games.
It is very important to create an atmosphere of joy on the stadium. That is why we take care of lighting, acoustics, and the combination of all factors that create such an atmosphere. A stadium should be a breathtaking venue, it should bring joy. And that is the spirit and the atmosphere that we are going to create at the new FC Shakhtar stadium.
We are going to finish the construction of the Olympian stadium in Beijing for 100 thousand audience, which is being built for the Olympics 2008.
We perfectly understand what we are going to create in Donetsk. This is a five-star object, which would meet all UEFA requirements. The Lenin Komsomol Park where the stadium will be built provides tremendous opportunities. Each centimetre of this park just cries out to be near the stadium and vice versa. The park has historical monuments and we understand how important it is to fit the stadium into this park. We are confident that this will be a big present for people of Donetsk.
- The Lenin Komsomol Park is a popular entertainment and recreation area for people of Donetsk. It also has historical significance. This is a unique place for the unique stadium. We can bring beautiful details to this park, enlarge and expand it.
The pitch is a heart of the stadium. We will consider how to protect it from any weather conditions. We are thinking of how to create good atmosphere for the audience. In summer, that will be an open space, and in winter - enclosed. One of our concerns is to ensure an easy access for people. We will take care about people's safety. We will use the most up to date technologies.
Three tiers will have comfortable seats for spectators. There will be toilets and facilities where people will be able to have meals. We will create all necessary conditions in VIP-boxes, and for mass media. The roof will have asymmetrical form that will ensure optimal pitch lighting. We are paying special attention to ensuring comfort for the audience. On the whole, all stadium's facilities will be built in accordance with the highest standards. There will be convenient parking lots. The stadium will also have other objects, which will bring additional profit.
For reference: site stripping works will start in September 2004, upon completion of which in early 2005 general contractor will proceed with laying of foundation. It is planned to open the stadium in the first half of 2007.
- Construction of new FC Shakhtar stadium will be carried out in accordance with the highest UEFA requirements. On UEFA Super Cup final I was sitting next to the UEFA President Lennart Johansson, and I told him that I was going to Donetsk to the presentation of the new stadium and he in his turn sent his greetings to the club management and the team, as well as to people of Donetsk and FC Shakhtar fans, and congratulations on significant event in Donetsk life.
This is my first visit to Donetsk and I am touched by the warm welcome that I had here.
Football is a show business and it must meet all the needs of the fans. If that doesn't happen then this business will be dead. And the stadium is the place, where the conditions should be created that would meet the needs of different categories of people. I think that such conditions will be created at the new five-star Shakhtar stadium. There is only one five-star stadium in Eastern Europe today, that is Luzhniki. But that stadium was reconstructed and the one in Donetsk will be built from scratch.
New Shakhtar stadium, which meets the highest today's requirements, will be able to host in future such competitions as the Champions League finals. Of course, the airport and hotels should meet that level too. The beginning of new FC Shaktar stadium construction will make a fantastic impact on football development.
- On behalf of 45 cities and raions of Donetsk region with its almost five million population, I want to thank FC Shakhtar and their President Rinat Akhmentov for this wonderful present that they are going to give to Donbass. I am confident that this object will be not only the gem of Donbass, but of entire Ukraine. FC Shkhtar Donetsk always was a heart and soul of Donbass, the object of special pride of all people of Donetsk. And today FC Shakhtar not only reveres the traditions of Donetsk football but thinks about the future as well. And demonstrative example of this is the fact that thousands of boys learn football in FC Shakhtar football schools. I think that the holy dream of any boy in Donetsk that goes in for sports will be to come to the emerald pitch of new stadium in orange T-short. I wish new victories to my favourite FC Shakhtar. But there is no need to wait for the new stadium to open for that.
From the speech of Donetsk Chief Architect Stanislav Vashchinskiy:
- Future object will nicely fit into the city sights and will become its embellishment. It took us a long time to choose the site for the stadium, and we chose the last out of four options — in the recreational area of the Lenin Komsomol Park, which we carefully examined during one year.
The city is grateful to FC Shakhtar for this present, which we are looking forward to receive.
- On the threshold of oncoming Champions League match against Milan, I am confident that the new stadium will have to be for 50 thousand audience as we have a problem now of where to seat all wishing to visit this match. FC Shakhtar made a big step forward, took care about construction of the new stadium, which will be added to present club infrastructure - the hotel and the training camp. Our team should go with the times and bring joy to fans with their progress and performance. I wish that this harmony will remain for many years to come.
- It is deeply symbolic that construction of new Shakhtar stadium coincided with the year, in which Ukraine celebrates its 110th anniversary of Ukrainian football. And today we are present at the presentation of the project of construction of fantastic FC Shakhtar stadium. And Mr.Walker is right, saying that football clubs of other cities and regions of this country already follow the pattern of FC Shakhtar. As a functionary, I also relate FC Shakhtar success to the unity of vision, aspirations and consensus of the two Presidents - Donetsk Oblast Football Federation and FC Shakhtar. And they are together now as well. I believe that the implementation of this project will make a significant contribution to the development of Ukrainian football. And on behalf of the Football Federation of Ukraine and its Presidium, I want to thank the heads of the Oblast Football Federation and FC Shakhtar for the amount of work they are doing not only in the sphere of professional football but also in the sphere of children's, junior and youth football.
- The new stadium construction project presented to us today, as well as the training camp and the hotel, is above all expectations. As a football functionary, I want to say that new FC Shakhtar stadium is the next step in development of football not only in this region but in entire Ukraine. And as the people's deputy, I want to say that in this project I see care about our people and this country and I am grateful for this both to FC Shakhtar and the project management.
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- Rinat Leonidovich, have you already thought of the name for new stadium?
- The name is Shakhtar.
- What stadiums in Europe or the world made strong impression on you?
- Both in Europe and the world there are many wonderful stadiums that made good impression on us. But we will try to ensure that our future stadium would make strong impression on the best European teams.
- Rinat Akhmetov, did you as the Head make any suggestions regarding the new stadium?
- If I would have made them I don't think we would have a very good stadium. I trust professionals.
- How many companies participated in tender?
- We conducted preliminary tenders for each sphere, that is we wanted to check each company's expertise. And only after that we let them participate in tender. We had to select five or six companies for each sphere in order to offer them to carry out the work. Then there were six or seven companies that obtained documents with particular tasks from the club. Next we asked them to give their answer and based on the numerous criteria we selected the most suitable for us. This way, we identified the general contractor and subcontractors. We were also able to involve Ukrainian companies.
- If that is not a secret, in how many years the new complex designing and construction costs will be met?
- It is hard to answer that question now. In some thirty years, I think.
- On behalf of the journalists, I would like to express the admiration regarding to what we have seen and heard today. Rinat Leonidovich, is this your dream coming true? And what does the team have to do to return thanks for what has been done?
- The team, I think, have already returned thanks to all of us by winning the pass to the Champions League group stage and we will hope for their successful performance in the Champions League group stage. And that is my dream and I think we all live with that dream.
- Please tell if all conditions were taken into account to ensure high quality television broadcasting at the new stadium?
- Good working conditions for mass media play a very important role in present-day stadiums. UEFA and FIFA rules have detailed information regarding requirements for mass media work on the stadium. Everything that is necessary is envisaged at the new stadium. Journalists will have wonderful conditions.
- Mr. Reilly, You visited FC Shakhtar training camp yesterday. What was a positive surprise for you as the specialist, when you were there? Can you compare what you have seen to other club's camps? And one more question. FC Shakhtar will play Celtic FC soon. Where are you going to sit during the match?
- I visited Manchester United FC and Manchester City FC camps, so I have something to compare. I think that FC Shakhtar training camp is one of the best I've seen.
On FC Shakhtar vs Celtic FC matches I am going to sit together with FC Shakhtar fans both in Donetsk and in Glasgow.
- Are there any plans to create FC Shakhtar football TV channel?
- Thank you for the question. As for the stadium, it is a part of the club infrastructure, but as concerns the TV channel, we didn't think about it yet. That is a bit different business.
- Question to FC Shakhtar President. "Don't you think that construction of such arena is a little bit ahead of the quality and level of the Ukrainian League?" The second question will be to Vice-president of FFU: "Are there any programmes being developed to improve the quality and level of our football entertainment?".
- I consider that we are just making our dream come true and are building what we want. We are confident that we are on the right way.
- Yes, there is such a programme, it has been signed this year by the government. This is a target integrated football development programme for 2004-2008. The programme was signed by Victor Fyodorovich Yanukovich. And we have already started its implementation. Perhaps, the modest confirmation of that is the fact that five Ukrainian teams take part in the European club tournaments and obtained rating points. This reflects the efforts of professional clubs, professional football league and football federation.
- We heard today that the future arena will be able to overcover. Does that mean that we will get the biggest in Eastern Europe concert hall?
- That is fine for the present day stadiums if they host concerts as well. The pitch should be protected during the concert. New stadium design provides for very good acoustics. So, it will be possible to have concerts there. They can become additional income source.
- Rinat Leonidovich, new stadium construction budget is 200 million dollars. That is a lot of money. Were any foreign investors involved?
- And how about city and oblast budgets?
- Of course, not. But if they would want to become shareholders, we will accept them. But they do not want that. Moreover, they don't even think about it.
* * *
After the presentation of new FC Shakhtar stadium project, new FC Shakhtar official web-site was presented. Vladymir Lysenko, the web-site project manager presented in detail new opportunities that will be available in new version of FC Shakhtar official web-site.
New FC Shakhtar official web-site will be opened for visitors from September 1.
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