Ukraine’s State Deposit Guarantee Fund has announced the third auction process for Odesa’s Chornomorets Stadium as it seeks to find a new owner for the venue that was developed ahead of the country’s co-hosting of UEFA Euro 2012.

Chornomorets Stadium opened in November 2011, but ultimately failed to make the cut as one of Ukraine’s four stadia for the following year’s edition of the national team football tournament. It is the home ground of Chornomorets Odesa, which was relegated from the top-tier Premier League last season, and has already undergone two failed auctions after the collapse of Odesa-based IMEX Bank.

The 34,000-seat stadium is one of IMEX’s assets and is being sold off as part of efforts to repay the failed bank’s depositors. The Kyiv Post newspaper said the third auction will be held on September 26, with the State Deposit Guarantee Fund and its auctioning agent, First Financial Network, setting a starting price of just UAH733m (£23.6m/€26.4m/$29.1m).

A ‘Dutch auction’ will take place, with the minimum price for the stadium set at UAH586m. The first auction of the stadium last year set a price of UAH3.66bn, while a second auction on August 8 failed to attract a single bidder.

Taras Yeleyko, who is responsible for asset sales at the State Deposit Guarantee Fund, told the Post that the lack of interest can be put down to the fact that the stadium is collateral on many unpaid loans. Yeleyko outlined that even though the loans are included in the sale to secure the ownership rights of the buyer, there are legal risks with the previous owner potentially being able to sue to recover the property. “Naturally, it’s a ticket to war,” Yeleyko said of owning the stadium.

Chornomorets Odesa is also not included in the sale, while the stadium is also considered a complicated asset to manage as it also includes a hotel, fitness centre, business complex, and several hundred underground parking spaces.

Yeleyko said that the Deposit Guarantee Fund’s main goal is to recover losses by selling the stadium, rather than securing the highest possible price for the facility. “We have to ensure that the sale is honest, and to provide the buyers with enough information and time for decision making,” Yeleyko added. “And then the market will say how much it is ready to pay for the object.”

Image: Chornomorets Odesa