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LASK’s Raiffeisen Arena to push forward with state funding

The State of Upper Austria has officially given the green light to Bundesliga football club LASK’s plans for a new 20,034-seat stadium by announcing it will grant the project a €30m (£26.9m/$35.8m) financing package.

LASK unveiled plans for the new stadium, which aims to be completed by the summer of 2022, back in July. Financial services company Raiffeisen Bank will hold naming rights to the stadium, which will be known as the Raiffeisen Arena. The company already sponsors LASK’s existing home, which is also known as the Raiffeisen Arena and has a capacity of 6,087.

Due to the size of the existing Raiffeisen Arena, LASK is forced to play European matches at Linzer Stadion, which seats around 21,000 fans. The new Raiffeisen Arena is set to be built on the site of Linzer Stadion and work is expected to begin on the project at the start of 2021.

Governor Thomas Stelzer and Regional Sports Councillor Markus Achleitner have announced that the project will receive a maximum of €30m in funding. They said in a joint statement: “One project that is now providing important impetus, especially for regional businesses, is the new LASK stadium, for which the club is investing more than €65m, with a maximum of €30m coming from the state as support.”

The funding forms part of a wider €1.2bn Upper Austria plan to secure and create jobs, and to stimulate the domestic economy. This is set to be discussed and adopted in the state parliament at the beginning of December.

LASK president Siegmund Gruber said: “The anticipation in the club and among the fans for the new arena is huge. A modern football arena is indispensable for our club in order to be able to be sporting and economically successful in the long term.”

The new stadium is designed to set new standards in terms of architecture and fan experience. LASK, which is based in the city of Linz, has pledged that the stadium will be climate-neutral and plastic-free, with a future-proof energy concept having been developed in partnership with Energie AG.

Electricity will be generated through photovoltaic systems on the roof areas of the stadium. Another LASK partner, BWT, will ensure that only recyclable drinking bottles and cups are dispensed at the stadium.

The new stadium will also partner with Upper Austria’s state sports centre, which is located adjacent to the site of the new development. Stelzer and Achleitner added: “Not only do two top institutions come together in terms of sport, we have also set ourselves the goal of long-term cooperation with the state funding: from sports medicine/therapy and sports science testing to the joint use of parking areas and restaurants. 

“We create a win-win situation for both sides, which also ensures long-term success. A sustainable centre of sport is being created here on the Linzer Gugl.”

Main image: State of Upper Austria

Secondary image: LASK