The construction of a new football stadium in the Albanian capital of Tirana has attracted criticism from locals who are angry about the demolition of the Qemal Stafa Stadium.

A new €50m arena is currently being built on the site of the now-demolished venue, which was named after an Albanian World War II hero and listed as a cultural monument.

The arena’s facade, which featured two stone sculptures that were put in place during the war, was knocked down last week. Prime Minister Edi Rama insisted that the stone from the old stadium would not be thrown away but claimed the two sculptures hold no great value.

Residents feel they should have been consulted before the authorities went ahead with the demolition.

Neritan Sejamini, a media analyst and lecturer at Tirana University, told Albanian news agency Birn: “In the case of the facade, we don’t really know how the ministry takes a decision to demolish a cultural monument. There was no transparency at all about this decision.

“We (the public) get information only from Rama’s Facebook updates.”

Work on the new stadium began in April and is expected to be completed by 2018.