Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1195, (1-7 May 2014)
Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Issue 1195, (1-7 May 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Stadium face-lift

Cairo Stadium Manager Ashraf Sobhi fleshes out details of the newly announced plans for the stadium’s complete overhaul in a talk with Abeer Anwar

Al-Ahram Weekly

A few weeks ago, Engineer Khaled Abdel-Aziz allocated EGP58 million for renovation works at Cairo’s International Stadium. Ashraf Sobhi, the manager of the Cairo International Stadium Authority, has declared that the funds are just the first step in a long-term renovation plan involving the entire arena, which consists of seven stadiums and a football playground.

“The sum of EGP27 million will be allocated to the cycling field. Work on it started in 2000 but it all stopped because of financial problems,” Sobhi said. He explained that the cycling field was set to be the first in the Middle East before Dubai built a bigger one. “This track will allow Egyptians to train and prepare well for their competitions and such facilities will help give Egypt the chance to host a number of international and regional events,” he said.

Sobhi added that the rest of the money, which is EGP21million, is earmarked for the renovation of the stadium’s camera and security systems to help monitor and control the Ultras fans bellicosities during and after matches. “We will replace all the stadium’s camera equipment with very sensitive ones that will enable us to see clearly everything that is taking place in the stands and all over the stadium. Also, electronic gates will be installed at the entrances to tighten security measures and enable the stadium’s authorities to control the Ultras and their actions,” he said.

According to Sobhi, the stadium is rented for between EGP80,000 and EGP100,000 per match. The hosting team is responsible for any damages incurred during matches. “It is the team’s responsibility to cover all the expenses and this new camera system will help both the stadium authorities and the team to identify those responsible for such damage so they are sent to the police,” he said.

“Of course, this is just a beginning. There are four other plans we are discussing with the Finance Ministry concerning contracts to rent the green areas and some sports facilities to be able to collect money for other sports events,” he said. “We can also build hotels, restaurants, gyms and sports acadamies. It is best to make maximum use of the spacious stadium grounds.”

Furthermore, Sobhi is discussing with the clubs’ committee a new system for hosting matches that entails the stadium receives a bank guarantee or an amount of money as an insurance deposit to be given to the stadium annually by the various clubs in return for being allowed to hold their matches at the venue.

The Cairo International Stadium or “Stad Al-Qahira Al-Dawly,” is an Olympic-standard, multi-use stadium with a seating capacity of 75,000. It is also the 69th largest stadium in the world. Located in Nasr City, it was completed in 1960 and was inaugurated by President Gamal Abdel-Nasser on 23 July 1960, on the eighth anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.

In 2005, in preparation for the 2006 African Cup of Nations, it underwent a major renovation, and was brought up to 21st century world standards along with all its multi-game Olympic facilities.

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