Chinese company Z-Run Well Ton Industry has agreed a partnership with the City of Velika Gorica that is set to lead to the development of a new football stadium in the largest city in Zagreb County.
The agreement, which also includes the Football Association of Zagreb County, will establish a framework for Z-Run to invest in sports infrastructure in the Croatian city, as well as the wider sports industry in the region.
Z-Run is set to create a local branch of the company and at a later stage the three parties will form a consortium agreement to define the way forward for the project. Specifics behind the stadium plans were not disclosed, but Croatian newspaper Večernji list said it is expected to cost €150m (£129.6m/$167.9m).
The stadium will reportedly be modelled on the Astana Arena in Kazakhstan and have a capacity of around 30,000 seats.
Mayor of Velika Gorica, Dražen Barišić, said in a statement: “The city presented opportunities for investment in sports infrastructure, which includes a stadium with accompanying facilities. The Chinese delegation also visited a potential field that spatially sets out the needs of the construction of the stadium, and the result is the signing of the agreement.
“Velika Gorica has become a city for investors in the last few years and I am pleased that this interest has spread beyond our borders and that business intentions are being expressed by foreign investors.”
The Velika Gorica project represents the latest Chinese-backed venture in Croatia, amid wider stadium development plans in the country. Earlier this month, Croatian Prva HNL football club HNK Rijeka took the first step towards regaining a permanent home after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop a new stadium with Chinese company Top International Engineering Cooperation (TIEC).
The agreement was one of seven such MoUs for infrastructure projects signed between Croatia and China at the Summit of Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) & China held in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik.
Jiang Yu, founder of Z-Run Well Ton Industry, said: “I thank the partners from the Chinese South Eastern European Business Association (CSEBA) who mediated on our arrival in the Republic of Croatia.
“We know that Croatian football fans expect better quality sports infrastructure, especially football stadiums, and we look forward to being part of this important project.”
Image: Frane Lovošević