Freiburg buoyed by settlement of Europa-Park Stadion dispute

German Bundesliga football club SC Freiburg has said this week’s resolution of a long-standing legal dispute connected to its new stadium will grant it more “planning security” moving forward.

Freiburg on Wednesday hailed the announcement of a breakthrough over the dispute, which has meant gameday operations have been substantially restricted at Europa-Park Stadion.

Freiburg played its first game in the 34,700-seat stadium, a test match against 2. Bundesliga outfit St. Pauli, back on October 7, but since that point it has been unable to stage evening games, or matches on Sunday afternoons, with only national and international cup competitions being the exception.

This stemmed from a long-running dispute connected to noise pollution, dating back to a referendum concerning the stadium project back in 2015, which has now been ended by way of a settlement.

The legal dispute was between six plaintiffs from the Mooswald district of Freiburg im Breisgau and Stadion Freiburg Objektträger, the joint stadium company operated by the club and the City of Freiburg. Its resolution will now grant Freiburg much greater flexibility in the operation of its new home.

An SC Freiburg spokesman told TheStadiumBusiness.com: “The settlement ensures that we will be able to host league matches regardless of their kick-off times. This ensures compliance with the league regulations and allows for more planning security.

“We also believe that this settlement will contribute to creating a partnership with the surrounding neighbourhoods and we are therefore very happy about this outcome.”

The settlement agreement includes restrictions on Europa-Park Stadion’s use as a multi-functional venue. Further restrictions on use have been guaranteed for a period of 10 years.

In particular, Europa-Park Stadion cannot be converted for use as a multi-functional venue, while no large concerts or open-air cinema events with more than 5,000 spectators may be held in the parking lots and open spaces in the vicinity of the stadium.

With regards how much of a challenge this will present in terms of not being able to create further revenue from concerts and other events, the spokesman said: “Concerts have, due to various reasons, never played a role in our thoughts on the stadium so this situation is not new to us.

“However, we will be able to host business events just as planned so we don’t expect any changes from this settlement to our business plans.”

Image: Andreas Schwarzkopf/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size