New UEFA Category IV stadium opens in Georgia

A new 20,000-seat stadium has officially opened in Georgia’s Black Sea resort town of Batumi.

The venue complies with Category IV of the stadium guidelines set down by UEFA, football’s European governing body, meaning it can be considered as a host facility for Champions League or Europa League club competition games, as well as matches during the European Championships national team tournament.

Requirements for such a stadium include a minimum seating capacity of 8,000, a minimum of 100 seats for VIPs and at least 30 workspaces for members of the media.

Batumi Stadium has been built at a cost of €37m ($44m) on an eight-hectare site near a former car factory. Construction started in January 2018, with the venue designed by Turkish firm Bahadir Kul Architects.

The stadium’s opening ceremony, originally scheduled for September, was postponed to October due to Covid-19.

Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said at the opening ceremony that Georgia is continuing with its major building projects despite the disruption caused by the pandemic.

FC Dinamo Batumi, the current league leader in the top-tier Erovnuli Liga, will play at the stadium, having previously hosted games at the 6,000-capacity Chele Arena in Kobuleti, some 30 kilometres north of Batumi.

The largest stadium in Georgia’s top league is Dinamo Tbilisi’s 55,000-seat Dinamo Arena.

While football matches will be the main event for the stadium, it will also be able to host various cultural events.

Image: PM’s press office

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