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Design & Development

CSKA Sofia hit by late challenge to stadium redevelopment

Featured image credit: CSKA Sofia

Bulgarian First League football club CSKA Sofia has hit out after announcing that its plans to redevelop the Stadion Balgarska Armia have been postponed indefinitely following a late legal challenge against the project.

CSKA, Bulgaria’s most successful football team, in April unveiled plans for the complete reconstruction of the venue otherwise known as Bulgarian Army Stadium. The stadium, first opened in 1923, will be rebuilt as a UEFA Class IV venue with a view to hosting major matches.

Plans were unveiled by CSKA, Sports Properties Bulgarian Army and engineering company IPA, who gave technical details and information about the financing of the project and the potential benefits for the general public.

Once the renovation is complete, the stadium will be able to seat 16,000 fans and will be a fully covered facility, unlike at present. CSKA had secured basic planning permission for the project at the beginning of the month, pending any appeals.

The club was expected to announce full approval for the scheme, but instead was yesterday (Monday) forced to explain a major setback. An individual, widely reported in the Bulgarian media to be Nikolay Veselinov, former Deputy Mayor of the Krasno Selo district of Sofia, has entered a last-ditch complaint.

Veselinov, a long-time critic of the project, has lodged his complaint with the Directorate for National Construction Control. In response, CSKA said: “Following the entry of the alert we introduced you to last week, this same professional complainant has now entered an actual appeal, which means that instead of the building permit going into effect, it has to go to court.

“This will put the brakes on all of our planned activities and intended campaigns unless the individual withdraws their complaint within the legal deadline. We can only guess what his motivations would be for delaying a project for the benefit of an entire city, but we urge him to reconsider his decision, because there is not one objective reason why we should not get a permit to redevelop a crumbling facility into a fairyland.

“We believe that nothing can stop the fulfilment of our goal, but we also wonder how it is possible in a rule of law that every intention for something positive is constantly under fire and is so difficult to make happen.”