Kaunas City Municipality has announced the completion of redevelopment work that makes Darius and Girėnas Stadium the largest stadium in Lithuania.
The stadium, which first opened in 1925 and has undergone other renovations since then, has been transformed from its previous capacity of 9,000 into a venue that can hold 15,000 spectators. Work began in the summer of 2018, with the project having a price tag of €43m (£37.5m/$42.5m).
With construction work now complete, the official opening of the new-look Darius and Girėnas Stadium has been set for mid-October. The venue will now meet UEFA’s category four requirements meaning it can host national team games and other tournaments operated by European football’s governing body.
It also includes a running track, allowing Lithuania’s second city to host top-level athletics events. Visvaldas Matijošaitis, Mayor of Kaunas, said in a statement: “Lithuania has lived too long without a decent stadium. Finally, that shame will be washed away and we can be happy about it today. We will no longer have to blush in front of the world’s football elite.
“This is a great achievement not only for the people of Kaunas, but also for the people of the whole country.”
Tadas Metelionis, director of Kaunas municipality administration, added to Lithuanian broadcaster LRT: “It is undoubtedly the largest stadium in Lithuania and one of the most modern stadiums in the Baltic states.
“The war started by Russia in Ukraine, and the disruption of the logistics chain as a result, postponed the completion of construction and the opening to the autumn. However, the contractors made maximum effort to finish everything as quickly as possible – at one time about 300 people were working here.”
Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, is currently demolishing an aborted National Stadium project, with a view to a replacement being developed in its place by late 2024.