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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”.