German Bundesliga football club Fortuna Düsseldorf has hit out after a deal was announced that will see it share the Merkur-Spiel-Arena with third tier team KFC Uerdingen 05.
The 3. Liga outfit’s Grotenburg-Stadion is undergoing redevelopment and the club is currently playing its home games at Schauinsland-Reisen-Arena in Duisburg. KFC has been in talks with its current home, along with stadium operators in Wattenscheid, but has now reached an agreement with D.Live, operator of the Merkur-Spiel-Arena.
“KFC Uerdingen will be playing in the Merkur-Spiel-Arena in Düsseldorf next season,” Uerdingen’s CEO and chairman, Frank Strüver, told the Rheinische Post newspaper.
The 54,600-seat Merkur-Spiel-Arena is owned by the City of Düsseldorf and D.Live managing director Michael Brill said: “As part of neighbourly assistance, we support Uerdingen. We do not think it will cause problems with Fortuna.”
However, Fortuna has expressed its unease over the agreement for the 2019-20 season. The club is already said to be concerned over the state of the stadium’s pitch during the winter months, while Fortuna is understood to have questions over how to accommodate KFC’s fans in the venue.
Fortuna CEO Robert Schäfer said: “Our goal is for the arena to become a Fortuna arena. It does not help if there is another club playing there. This results in follow-up problems.”
Fortuna’s current lease deal for Merkur-Spiel-Arena is due to expire on June 30. Rheinische Post said that after initial difficulties during talks over a new deal, an extension is set to be announced soon.