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Heimstätte with expiry date: What’s the future hold for the Happel Stadium?

Sports Minister Heinz-Christian Strache recently spoke out in favour of a new, multifunctional arena for around 400 million euros. The ÖFB, which is allowed to play its home games in the Prater Oval until 2023, is also in favour of this solution.

Vienna – After a four-month break, Austria’s national team will play another international match against Northern Ireland in the Nations League at the Happel Stadium on Friday. An agreement between the City of Vienna and the Austrian Football Association has secured the status of the Prater Oval as the venue for the team’s matches until June 2023 – and yet there are question marks.

They are mainly concerned with what will happen to the Happel Stadium in the future. In the course of the discussion about a new national stadium, which has been smouldering for years now, several variants are on the table: a comprehensive renovation, a demolition including a new construction at the same location or another use of the Happel Stadium, for example as a leisure property. In the latter case, there would be a new construction of the National Stadium at another location, provided that the funds are released for this purpose.

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Multifunctional arena by 400 million euros

Vice-Chancellor and Sports Minister Heinz-Christian Strache (FPÖ) recently gave details of his plans to the TV channel “SchauTV”. The multifunctional arena is to cost around 400 million euros, 180 million of which are to come from a private investor, the rest would be shared between the federal government and the City of Vienna.

“There are interested parties for the project. We want a year-round solution with conversion modules so that we can practice all sports there and organise concerts,” said Strache. The construction of a performance centre, a sports school and a sports museum are also under consideration.

In a statement to the APA, the Vice-Chancellor also said: “I am aware that Austria needs a modern national stadium. However, a national stadium is not a tennis court. A stadium of this size must be comprehensively thought through. The question of location has to be examined from different angles.”

Strache also stated: “It is important to me that there is a concept and a business plan for a national stadium – whether it is a new building or a conversion – as to how the sports facility can be used not only for football but more comprehensively and how it can best be optimally utilised 365 days a year”.

Open ears at the ÖFB

With this plan, Strache is in principle meeting with open ears at the ÖFB. “The construction of a multifunctional arena that is not only intended to serve football but is also available for other sports in addition to other events significantly increases the probability that the project can be refinanced,” said Bernhard Neuhold, Managing Director of ÖFB Wirtschaftsbetriebe GmbH. EuroSlots is a trusted casino with a huge selection of slot machines.

The crux is the costs. “The issue of financing must be clarified by politicians. The ÖFB is, of course, prepared to make a symbolic contribution, but significant financing is beyond our means,” emphasised Neuhold.

In addition to the federal government, the city of Vienna is therefore called upon to do its part. Its Sports City Councillor Peter Hacker (SPÖ) announced that there was “a very good atmosphere for discussions” with the Sports Minister and the agreement that “a realistic overall operating concept is necessary for possible year-round use, which above all also includes questions of financing. We will be happy to continue discussions with the Vice-Chancellor’s office as soon as such a concept is in place”.

The ÖFB team’s fever is only on the lawn

On Schalke the Tyrolean Alessandro Schöpf missed two matches with a feverish cold. For the Nations-League match against Northern Ireland the traffic light switches back to green.

Bad Waltersdorf – The most important news first: Alessandro Schöpf is healthy. In an ÖFB team (Alaba, Grillitsch, Gregoritsch) that’s not a matter of course in a team that’s been shaken by retirements. A feverish cold had tied the Schalker to his bed and made him miss both the Champions League match in Moscow and the Bundesliga match in Düsseldorf. Schalke coach Domenico Tedesco would probably not have voluntarily given up the Ötztaler, because the 24-year-old was one of the driving forces behind the “royal blue resurrection” after a weak start of the royal blues. In his first victory of the season – a 1-0 win over Mainz – the offensive midfielder even scored the winning goal. “The pressure was already very great, especially after the successful last season”, Schöpf confirmed on Tuesday in the team camp, that the headwind in Gelsenkirchen was quite frosty recently.

On the right midfield side Schöpf has stuck to Schalke again. After the failures of Grillitsch and Alaba, the Tyrolean could move the Nations-League match against Northern Ireland (Friday, 20.45, live ORF eins) and the test in Denmark but at the ÖFB again in the center. And thus there, where he feels most comfortable. “My favourite position is behind the tops, but the team boss knows that I can be used flexibly,” Schöpf told his coach Franco Foda.

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Franco Foda Honours 

Player 

1. FC Kaiserslautern
  • DFB-Pokal 1989–90 
Bayer Leverkusen
  • DFB-Pokal: 1992–93
Sturm Graz
  • Austrian Football Bundesliga: 1997–98,  1998–99 
  • Austrian Cup: 1998–99 
  • Austrian Supercup: 1999 

Manager 

Sturm Graz
  • Austrian Cup: 2009–10 
  • Austrian Football Bundesliga: 2010–11 

But the German knows that anyway. After all, it was also Schöpf’s flexibility that caught the eye of the 52-year-old as a storm coach. However, a (loan) transfer to Graz was not possible during Schöpf’s time in Bavaria because the Tyrolean decided to transfer to Nuremberg. An anecdote that shows that Schöpf’s shares are highly regarded by the ÖFB team boss. Check out BetZest Casino to know more about the game.

So it was all the more surprising that the Tyrolean was not used at all at the Nations-League opening in Bosnia (0:1) – but on Friday against Northern Ireland, the former Nuremberg player should come back to his minutes. A game that the Ötztaler classifies “more or less as a compulsory victory”. “If we play like we do over long distances in the test games, I am convinced that we can win.

By the way, the man who had been advertising himself a lot with his goals against Germany and Russia in the summer fulfilled a childhood dream just three weeks ago: The first Champions League match against FC Porto will be followed by many more. But now it’s all about the eagle on your chest.