Partizan Belgrade has expressed its intention to restart a redevelopment project for its stadium and explore potential naming rights deals after regaining ownership of the venue following what it described as a “major historical legal victory”.
The Serbian SuperLiga football club has claimed victory in a Belgrade court, which overturned an earlier ruling concerning the stadium in September 2017. Partizan said this brings to an end years of “complex and exceptionally demanding litigation” which had been initiated by Serbia’s former Minister of Defence, Dragan Šutanovac.
Partizan Stadium first opened in 1951 and currently has a seating capacity of around 32,710. Partizan’s vice-president, Vladimir Vuletic, detailed how the legal battles had derailed a redevelopment project dating back to 2007 which planned to an install a roof covering the entire stadium and renovate the east and west stands.
“The project of Žarka Zečevića with the Swiss company Maraci from the first decade of this century was already finished and the financial construction was agreed,” he said, according to Serbian newspaper Blic. “However, just at the time when the construction of the stadium was supposed to start, a lawsuit from the Ministry of Defence appeared and the whole job was stopped.”
However, Partizan is now set to return to its vision of creating a stadium fit to compete with Europe’s finest, with Vuletic stating the Serbian government is prepared to back the project.
He said: “The state is ready to invest €15m (£13.1m/$17m) in the reconstruction of Partizan Stadium. We are extremely grateful for this. We are not the only one to get money, because the stadia of Red Star, Vojvodina, Niš and Kragujevac Radnicki is also planned. We believe that this is the time when we will be able to host some of the group stages of European competitions in a decent building reflecting our tradition and fame.”
While admitting that work on the stadium is still some way away, Vuletic added that Partizan has already received contact about potential naming rights partnerships. He said: “If the Bayern (Munich) stadium can be called the Allianz Arena or Emirates attached to the Arsenal facility… I do not see why Partizan would not follow the world trends and put additional money in the box in the form of rights to the stadium name.
“In this regard, some companies from France and China have already contacted us, so we could get a new name.”
Image: Partizan Belgrade