A tender to develop a new national football stadium in Serbia has been reportedly cancelled, due to financial concerns amid COVID-19.

Serbian media portal Insajder.net said that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which was conducting the design tender, stated the process has been stopped due to the Serbian government being unable to take on new financial obligations during the global pandemic.

The tender was reportedly launched in October, with the Serbian government in June 2019 forming a working group to manage the project led by Minister of Sports Vanja Udovičić as president and Finance Minister, Siniša Mali, as deputy.

The Serbian government was reportedly due to borrow €250m (£222.5m/$280.4m) for the project, which was initially proposed back in 2013. In April 2019, stakeholders behind the proposed new national football stadium in Belgrade revealed further plans for the project, which they stated would serve to promote Serbia as a whole.

Plans for the 60,000-seat venue, which was set to be located in Surčin, a municipality of the Serbian capital, accelerated after Mali outlined the project in a New Year’s interview. Located on what is currently agricultural land, the stadium was proposed to have a 35-hectare footprint, with accompanying development widening this to 430 hectares.

Mali said the project was 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.

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

Image: Football Association of Serbia (FSS)