Stakeholders behind a new national football stadium in Belgrade have revealed further plans for the project, which they state will serve to promote Serbia as a whole.

Plans for the 60,000-seat venue have accelerated since Serbia’s Finance Minister,  Siniša Mali, outlined the project in a New Year’s interview with Blic. In a new interview with the Serbian newspaper, Mali has now shed further light on the stadium, which will be located in Surčin, a municipality of the Serbian capital.

Located on what is currently agricultural land, the stadium will have a 35 hectare footprint, with accompanying development widening this to 430 hectares. Mali said the project is envisioned as a true ‘sports city’ development with a multi-functional stadium combined with investments in industry, tourism, technology, entertainment, culture and the construction of a residential complex.

He told Blic: “Before we started the whole story, we did an analysis that all the countries in the region have national stadiums and we saw that Albania and Budapest are finishing their own and that Romania already has one.

“We have come to the conclusion that sport has long ceased to be only sport and that it is big business, especially if we are talking about football. Our goal is that with the National Stadium, through sporting events, we promote Serbia, but also gain tourism and investment, at the same time.”

Mali said money has already been allocated for the design of the stadium in this year’s budget, adding that work could commence very quickly with completion in two to three years. He continued: “The plan is to create a whole city within the stadium, there will be exhibitions, a space for culture and concerts, aquaparks, but also a technology park that involves the arrival of large global chains.

“We are already negotiating with Ikea and Kaufman, which are very interested in locating themselves within the complex, and there will be a lot of office space, as well as a complete apartment block.”

Extensive investment in transport infrastructure is also targeted, with a new motorway bypass planned as well as an extension for the local rail network. Stevan Šuša, President of the Municipality of Surčin, told the Novosti.rs website: “This is (using) land of (agribusiness company) PKB, which has been excluded from the recent privatisation of this company.

“Although this land is arable, it was chosen due to excellent location conditions. All those who come to the games will reach the highway, and there is a special inclusion for the stadium. When all the accompanying traffic infrastructure is built, people from the most distant parts of Belgrade will be able to arrive in at most half an hour. Nearby is the Nikola Tesla Airport, about four kilometres away, which is also one of the advantages.”

Serbia’s national football team currently plays the majority of its home games at Rajko Mitić Stadium (pictured), the venue of SuperLiga club Red Star Belgrade.

Image: Red Star Belgrade