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Features

DBU weighing up move for ownership of Parken

The Danish Football Union (DBU) has outlined its interest in becoming a co-owner of Parken stadium, the home of the national team and Superliga club FC København.

The DBU’s announcement comes after Parken Sport & Entertainment (PS&E), parent company of the stadium and FC København, last month announced it was seeking a new owner for the 38,000-seat venue.

PS&E said it was “looking for opportunities” to sell the group’s property portfolio, which along with Parken also includes office towers and two aquatics centres in Rødby and Billund. A full or partial divestment of the portfolio is being looked at, with the intention that PS&E would remain the operator of both the stadium and FC København.

The DBU has now said it may be interested in becoming part of an ownership group for Parken, but added that this would require “other actors, investors and the right conditions” before a co-ownership model could be realised.

In August 2020, the DBU said it would take an active role in the redevelopment of Copenhagen’s Parken and the construction of a new stadium in Aarhus as it targets bids for international tournaments.

The DBU board agreed to help shape plans to modernise Parken, which has been the home of the national team since it opened in its current guise in 1992. It said it would work alongside the City of Copenhagen and PS&E in their bid to modernise the stadium’s framework and facilities.

The board’s announcement came after the DBU in October 2019 said that Denmark needs a 50,000-seat stadium in an effort to keep up with developments in other European nations. After months of consultations with a number of municipalities, companies and organisations, DBU opted to pursue a redevelopment plan at Parken.

Following PS&E’s announcement, the DBU has now decided it must investigate whether becoming a co-owner of Parken would be worthwhile. Jesper Møller, chairman of DBU, said these considerations must be weighed up alongside how the stadium can be modernised.

Møller continued: “We want to develop Danish football for children and adults, from youth to elite and from clubs to national teams. It requires better facilities and stronger infrastructure, but it also requires a more modern national stadium in the capital.

“That is why we want to become an owner of Parken. It can happen in several ways, and only if the terms and conditions are the right ones.”

The development process for a new modern stadium in Aarhus is already well underway. The six design teams in contention to land the contract to develop Superliga team AGF’s new stadium were last month issued with the conditions they will need to meet.

The City of Aarhus in December selected six teams of architects and studios to submit final proposals for a new football stadium. The stadium is due to open in 2026 and be located within the existing Aarhus Sports Park close to Aarhus Bay and the Marselisborg Woods. The stadium will form part of the wider ‘Vision Kongelunden’ regeneration programme, which aims to redevelop the Aarhus Sports Park as a new sustainable recreational zone for locals.

The six teams have been told that the stadium’s budget is DKK 585m (£65.6m/€78.6m/$89.2m). Proposals need to be submitted for a 20,000-seat venue, expandable to 24,000 with the addition of standing terraces. A provision for a further 2,000 seats must also be made.

Jakob Jensen, CEO of DBU, added: “We need more modern stadiums for both international matches and international tournaments.

“Although we have a good economy and control over our contractual relationship, we cannot do it alone. Therefore, we must now enter into dialogue with several relevant actors and investors to investigate the possibilities of whether it would be best to become part of the ownership of the Parken.”

Image: DBU