Green light to stadium renovation
FC “Ekranas” president Aušrys Labinas other club representatives met on Tuesday with City Vice-Mayor Gintaras Šileikis for the renovation of the “Aukstaitija” stadium. The club presented the renovation project for the authorities.
Successful “Ekranas” participation in the prestigious european clubs’ tournaments makes us to update the old stadium. European Football Federations Association (UEFA) let or country champions to play in their own stadiums in the III stage of the qualification this year, as well as the European league matches, with the help of gathered fans. However, an exception was made with one condition only: the club has to prepare its home arena for the Category III and meet conditions necessary to the basic requirements that are for a high-leveled game organization.
At this time, the “Aukstaitija” stadium fails to meet many criteria. It needs to increase the number of seats to 4500, part of the tribunes have to be roofed, the remains of the emergency state stands should be fixed, the media sector should be expanded by 50 seats to the fitted desk for the work, also, there should be a room for journalists, VIP tribune should be bigger up to 250 individual seats, then there should be a TV studio, and a filming area.
According to the club's stadium renovation project, the stadium would to meet the requirements of sports category III. There could be played not only in the Champions League qualification matches, but in the group stage matches as well, in addition, here the representative team of the national team could play, and other tournaments could be organized.
On tentatively, FC "Ekranas" count, the renovation costs would be 3.5 million litas. We believe that the price is normal. We’ll be looking for financing all together. We’ll appeal to the government, to the Seimas, to the football federation, and of course, the municipality will contribute with some input. This amount will be actually collected. The updated stadium will meet UEFA requirements for the Champions League matches, and we won’t need to look for the other stadium. The reconstruction can be implemented quickly enough,"- said the city vice-mayor Gintaras Sileikis.
When we asked G. Šileikis, whether it is realistic to expect the work ending until the end of the summer FC "Ekranas" international matches, and vice-mayor said that everybody hopes that too. "Concentrated together, I believe that we can do that and implement everything" diplomatically said the representative of the city government.
After the reconstruction, we can contribute to the European Football Youth Championship organization of group matches, the international football federation would provide million litas for that", - said G. Sileikis.
Is there an alternative plan, if the stadium doesn’t get the amount from state institutions? According to the vice-mayor, there are many successful examples, when accompanied by public authorities, municipalities and private businesses collaborate and successfully implement joint projects. This scenario is foreseen for the renovation of the stadium.
"In considering the budget, we will also have to consider and foresee a part of the money for the stadium renovation. Council members will be informed, we’ll agree with the sport community, to plan about the amount of money, but this project is not only for Panevezys, the whole Lithuania should be interested in that. I think the government must find ways to support this initiative and then we’ll have a great stadium, "- said G. Sileikis.
"In the near future a technical project should be prepared; all the other decisions should be quickly adopted and implemented. Both politicians and the administration will have to work fast '- said vice-mayor. According to him, the contest of the renovation works will be published next year.
In 1965, the main stadium was built in Panevezys, where "Ekranas“has played more than 46 matches of the supreme league. Now, the stadium can accommodate 4,000 spectators. In 1968, the four trigger artificial lighting poles were turned on for the first and the last time - then “Statyba” from Panevezys played against ... "Statyba" Panevezys in a friendly match.
After 40 years in 2008, FC "Ekranas" initiated and with the help of Panevezys municipality money and work, lights were turned on again: the stadium lights tested in the late autumn in the match “Ekranas” vs “Suduva”.