Zagreb’s Stadion Maksimir set to be replaced

The City of Zagreb has announced an agreement has been reached with Croatian Prva HNL champion Dinamo Zagreb to build a new stadium on the site of the historic Stadion Maksimir.

The announcement follows much speculation over the past year over the development of a new stadium in the capital. Stadion Maksimir first opened in 1912 and has a current capacity of around 35,000. Along with Dinamo, it is the home of the Croatian national football team.

In a statement, the City said Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić and his associates met yesterday (Thursday) with representatives of Dinamo, led by president Mirko Barišić and CEO Vlatka Peras, to discuss plans to build a new Maksimir.

The statement added: “It was agreed that Dinamo would make a final decision at its assembly with clear guidelines defined by FIFA and UEFA standards for the construction of a new stadium at the site of today.

“It was also defined that the project of the new stadium would be built in partnership between the City and GNK Dinamo.

“Following the decision of the Dinamo assembly, further steps can be taken regarding the realisation of this historic project which is extremely important for Dinamo – an icon of Zagreb sport – important for the city of Zagreb, its sports history, for all of Zagreb and sports fans.”

In February, it was reported that the City of Zagreb was set to embark on a major renovation of the Maksimir. The redevelopment was said to involve the rebuilding of the stadium’s western and northern stands, along with the addition of a roof to these facilities. The Maksimir is currently completely open to the elements.

A plan to develop a new stadium for Dinamo and the national team emerged in 2008, only to ultimately be abandoned a few years later. Dinamo has called the Maksimir home since 1949. A month following these reports, Croatian Football Federation (HNS) president Davor Šuker said plans were in place to develop a new stadium for the national team in Zagreb.

Šuker, a legendary figure in Croatian football, said the HNS held a two-day meeting with the City and Croatian government, adding that the federation was on the “right track” to develop a “wonderful stadium” in the Novi Zagreb suburb of Blato.