A campaign to rename St. Jakobshalle after tennis great Roger Federer has collapsed after its backers failed to gather enough support to force a vote by the City of Basel.
The arena, which is located in Münchenstein, near Basel, hosts the annual Swiss Indoors men’s tournament, an event Federer has won on 10 occasions. The 39-year-old was born in Basel and a campaign, entitled ‘Roger Federer Arena maintenant!’, was launched in March 2019.
However, with 3,000 signatures needed by December 4, organisers have now conceded defeat. Despite this, Swiss newspaper Le Matin said the petition, with 1,200 signatures, has still been entered to Basel-City, along with another petition, which had gathered 2,600 signatures, calling for a general name change.
St. Jakobshalle reopened in October 2018 with a capacity of 12,400 following a redevelopment project valued at around CHF 100m (£84.2m/€93.2m/$110.6m). Gathering support for the renaming was said to have been made more difficult after a major initiative to increase backing was cancelled back in February due to COVID-19.
Federer, a 20-time grand slam champion, has already been honoured in Basel after receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Basel in 2017. The renaming of a street or square in the city is only possible posthumously.