Wednesday, October 21, 2020

for SC Friborg, a new stadium at 76 million euros… and the ban on playing there because of noise

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LThe site is not yet finished as the sanction has already fallen. SC Freiburg, resident club of the Bundesliga – the elite of German football – will have to arm themselves with patience before being able to step onto the lawn of its new stadium as part of the German championship.

The delivery of the brand new enclosure had already been postponed several times and the delay had increased with the measures taken to fight against the Covid-19 epidemic. But today, if the men of coach Christian Streich see the prospect of an upcoming inauguration fading away, the health crisis is not the main culprit.

On September 16, the Administrative Court (VGH) of Baden-Württemberg ruled in favor of the residents of the new stadium, who had lodged a complaint, fearing to be disturbed by the noise. Epilogue of this neighborhood quarrel: SC Friborg is prohibited from playing every evening after 8 p.m. and any Sunday meeting, between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., is also banned … Either at times when, traditionally, matches have precisely location.

Justice has granted an exemption for the National Cup matches, and those of the European Cup. But, the height of the bad luck: the team narrowly missed the qualification for the continental event. The new stadium, the total cost of which is estimated at 76 million euros according to the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, is therefore almost unusable.

A stadium validated by a local referendum

“It’s a farce that has lasted a long time”, underlines the SID press agency, which recalls that the first court decision in this case dates back to October 2019. Already, the VGH had ruled that the club would only be allowed to use the enclosure in a limited way. “The case had already been widely publicized and it had become a legal curiosity”, argues the daily Die Welt. The court’s decision had in fact been rendered on the basis of noise pollution regulations in force in 2017… However, these had been modified and adjusted.

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The club has expressed its misunderstanding about the temporary ban on evening matches in its new arena. Especially since it is by a local referendum that the inhabitants of Friborg had validated, in February 2015, the construction of the stadium. Located in place of the city’s old airport, the enclosure with some 35,000 seats was designed with an eco-responsible approach (rainwater harvesting, solar panels or even the use of recycled materials).

For now, SC Freiburg will continue to play their home games at the Schwarzwald-Stadion, the Black Forest stadium, summarizes Der Spiegel. It is one of the most popular arenas in Europe, with its 24,000 seats generally full. She is also known for her popular fervor, the club’s supporters being “Renowned for being one of the loudest audiences in Germany”, reminded Eurosport in July.

The Black Forest stadium had already been at the heart of neighborhood quarrels: it is in a very upscale part of town. There is the Dreisam river flowing just behind the enclosure, there is the Black Forest all around. This is what makes people who live in this neighborhood choose it: to be quiet. So when they see a pilgrimage of 24,000 people every two weeks to come to the game …, thus told the sports site Patrick Guillou, consultant for BeIN Sports and from the city.

Since mid-September, the public has gradually returned to the stands of the Bundesliga, thanks to a six-week test phase which allows clubs to accommodate 20% of their stadium capacity.

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