Parken management address structural concerns, ‘network of the future’ installed

FC København fans at Parken

Featured image credit: Gaston Szerman, FCK.DK

The Danish Football Union (DBU) has followed Superliga club FC København (FCK) in warning fans against “coordinated jumping” at Parken amid structural concerns at the stadium, while the venue has become a “digital frontrunner” for stadia in Europe through the completion of new network infrastructure.

FCK took action last week ahead of Sunday’s Superliga match against Viborg, following the findings of an investigation carried out by architecture, engineering and consultancy company Rambøll.

Parken has been the home of the national team since it opened in its current guise in 1992 and is set to host the start of Denmark’s European Qualifiers campaign for UEFA Euro 2024 against Finland tomorrow (Thursday).

On the basis of the investigation by Rambøll, Parken management have requested an end to coordinated jumping in the B stand for FCK matches. The DBU said this will also apply to tomorrow’s game whilst further investigation takes place.

Jakob Høyer, head of communications for the DBU, said: “The safety of our fans is the most important thing for DBU, just like it is for Parken. Therefore, in recent days we have been in close dialogue with the Parken, which emphasises that it is safe to stay on the ‘Red Wall’ in the Parken on Thursday, but that for now there will be no coordinated jumping.”

The DBU has said it will maintain “close dialogue” with the Parken management with a view to future international matches.

Following Sunday’s game, FCK thanked its fans for abiding by its request to reduce jumping in the B stand. Indeed, the 2-1 win over Viborg set a season record in the Superliga with 32,678 spectators – 48 more than for the Brøndby game on August 7, which was attended by 32,630.

The overall season average for FCK Superliga games at Parken is now up to 27,386, with the club pointing to strong attendances as one of the reasons why the structural issues have been detected. Based on this positive development, it asked Rambøll to investigate how much strain the spectators put on the B stand.

It was found that coordinated rhythmic jumps in Section 12 in short sequences exceed the standards that were used when Parken opened in its current guise. FCK stressed that although there is, and has not been, any safety risk by being on Section 12, the recommendation from Rambøll must be followed until a new investigation is available.

Rambøll’s recommendation is based on measurements made in connection with the match against AaB on February 26. For this game, coordinated jumps from around 8,000 people in short sequences produced a pressure that exceeded the load expected when the grandstand was built from 1990 to 1992.

The previous measurement was made in February 2020 during a game against Scottish Premiership club Celtic with a completely full Section 12, but at that time the load was significantly less. 
Jacob Lauesen, director of FC København and Parken, said on Saturday: “No one in 1990, or just a few years ago, imagined that we would have both upper and lower sections filled match after match, so the norms were not made according to that.

“But even if the background is extremely positive, because many more fans have come and that they have become much better at coordinating the atmosphere at Section 12, everyone has to take this recommendation very seriously until we know more.

“If this does not happen, we may be forced to significantly cut capacity or change the grandstand to a seated grandstand. It will be extremely unfortunate for the development of our fan environment and for the club.”

Setting new connectivity benchmark

Meanwhile, telecommunications company 3 and digital infrastructure firm GlobalConnect have completed what Parken Sport & Entertainment claims is the “network of the future” at the stadium, setting a new European standard.

GlobalConnect and 3 began work on the project in the autumn of last year, with the new internet connection set to grant a significantly upgraded digital experience to fans attending football matches or concerts at Parken.

Indeed, the new network has already made it possible for Parken to enter into a collaboration with delivery service Wolt, meaning that fans can now have food delivered from outlets located outside the stadium during football matches.

“Togetherness and community no longer only happen physically, now and in the future it is also absolutely crucial to be able to share experiences with each other digitally in real time,” Lauesen said.

“As Denmark’s national stadium, Parken provides a framework for many great experiences that the visitors must be able to share with others at the same time. The network plays an absolutely decisive role for those experiences.”

Morten Christiansen, CEO of 3 Scandinavia and Austria, added: “With the new network, Parken has become a digital frontrunner with the fastest and strongest network in a European stadium. 

“We are very proud to have built such a sublime network. It will give the visitors even more unique digital experiences when they visit our shared national stadium and they will share it with the rest of Denmark.”