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Helsinki Olympic Stadium set for reopening

The Helsinki Olympic Stadium will officially reopen on Saturday following extensive redevelopment work.

The stadium, which hosted the summer Olympic Games in 1952, has been closed since 2016 and has undergone renovation work worth a reported €350m (£317m/$418m).

A televised opening ceremony will begin at 7.30pm local time on Saturday, and stadium tours will then be made available to the general public. The stadium’s athletics track is set to open for the public from September 14-19.

The first sporting event scheduled for the stadium, which will have a seated capacity of 36,200, will be the opening match of the National League Women’s Finnish Football Championship Series tomorrow (Wednesday).

The stadium’s existing architecture has been respected during the renovation process, which has promoted sustainable methods. A number of underground spaces have been added to the stadium to ensure it can host national and international events and become a year-round venue.

The stadium will host Helsinki Design Week from September 11-13 and has also been pencilled in to stage the 2022 edition of the UEFA Super Cup.

Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori said: “The Olympic Stadium is one of Helsinki’s icons. Its extensive renovation work testifies to our city’s commitment to safeguarding its own history and identity. Especially during this difficult time, investments in events and experiences are important both for the entire event sector and for all Helsinki residents.

“The renewed modern, functional and sustainably rebuilt stadium serves the people of Helsinki in many different ways and also serves as a builder of international appeal far into the future.”

The stadium opened in 1938 and had been due to host the Olympics in 1940, but the Games were cancelled due to the outbreak of World War Two. The stadium had a maximum capacity of 70,000 when Helsinki eventually hosted the Olympics in 1952.

Image: Olympiastadion Helsinki/Wellu Hämäläinen