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DBU commits to Parken amid stadium development plan

The Danish Football Union (DBU) has committed to Telia Parken as its main home for the period spanning the summer of 2020 through to the end of 2022, with the Copenhagen venue stating it will be open to discussing the governing body’s vision for a 50,000-seat stadium, but only if it is “financially sustainable”.

The DBU launched an open tender inviting all Danish stadia to bid to become the home of the men’s national team from the summer of 2020 through to December 31, 2022. In response, the DBU said it received several offers, making the decision to retain the Parken as the national team’s main home after assessing aspects such as spectator capacity, facilities for fans, partners and the team, as well as the financial framework.

The DBU’s deal with the stadium’s operator, Parken Sport & Entertainment, foresees at least seven to eight matches played at the Parken during this period, encompassing qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and games in the UEFA Nations League.

The remaining two or three matches in World Cup qualification and the Nations League can be played at other stadia. In addition to qualifiers and Nations League matches, there is the possibility of holding between two and four friendlies during this period. The hosting rights to these matches will be decided at a later stage.

Kenneth Reeh, acting CEO at the DBU, said in a statement: “Telia Parken creates a fantastic setting for the men’s team’s matches with up to 37,000 fans in the stands, and we are very much looking forward to a minimum of 7-8 matches in there.

“At the same time, it is good that during the same period we can play matches elsewhere, so that fans from all over the country will have a close relationship with Denmark’s men’s national team.”

Bo Rygaard, chairman of Parken Sport & Entertainment, added: “We have always been very proud to house the biggest Danish national matches, and we look forward to continuing the more than 100-year-old tradition of international matches at Telia Parken in Copenhagen.

“In cooperation, we have made a good and flexible agreement for Danish football and not least for the Danish national team’s fans. We also have a clear intention to further strengthen the relationship and see this as the next step in a long-term collaboration between us and DBU in the future.”

The DBU’s announcement comes after chairman Jesper Møller last month spelled out a vision for a 50,000-seat stadium in an effort to keep up with developments in other European nations. The masterplan was revealed through a DBU briefing issued to local football stakeholders. In the briefing, the DBU wrote that Danish football needs a “modern national stadium” with capacity for a minimum of 50,000 spectators.

The Union stated it is a requirement if Denmark is to harbour aspirations of hosting major tournaments, citing the UEFA Women’s European Championship, the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the UEFA Europa League final.

Telia Parken has been the home of the national team since it opened in its current guise in 1992, but Denmark has played at the site since 1912. The stadium will host three group stage games and a Round of 16 match during UEFA Euro 2020, a special edition of the tournament spread across Europe, but with a capacity of around 38,000 is believed to be too small to meet the DBU’s future ambitions.

The DBU’s plan stated that the national stadium must be located in the capital, and also spelled out the need for a “modern stadium with seating for 25,000 spectators” elsewhere in the country. This is designed to help Denmark stage football tournaments.

The DBU is reportedly open to either building a new stadium, or redeveloping an existing venue. This potentially means that the Parken or Brøndby Stadion, which has competed against its fellow Copenhagen stadium for national team games, could be expanded.

The DBU’s stadium ambitions come despite the fact that Denmark’s 1-0 win over Switzerland in a Euro 2020 qualifier on October 12 is the only event this year where demand for tickets exceeded capacity at the Parken.

Commenting on the DBU’s plans, Rygaard told Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet: “We have not focused on the capacity of the Parken at all, on the other hand it has been about making the Parken a part of a living environment in Copenhagen.

“We will only rebuild the Parken if it is financially sustainable. It makes no sense at all for us to make such a big investment if it is not profitable. At the same time, there is a need for a bigger stadium, but now we sit down to discuss the visions that Jesper Møller has.

“We are ready to listen to the wishes, and we are pleased that Jesper Møller has mentioned the Parken in this context. I totally agree that building a new stadium makes no sense at all.”

Image: DBU