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State says clubs must pay for new stadium study

President Nicos Anastasiades chaired a meeting to discuss ways to present a well-documented report to the European Commission to allow the government to finance a football stadium in Limassol.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting on Monday, deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos said that one of the points discussed was the strict rules surrounding the EU Commission and the Competition Authority regarding state sponsored stadia. He noted that teams such as Barcelona and Real Madrid had been heavily fined for similar violations.

Papadopoulos explained that Undersecretary to the President Constantinos Petrides, who was involved in talks with the EU Commission in December regarding the matter, had reported that the Commission was willing to help provided it received a detailed analysis on the matter.

Mistakes of the past also featured in the discussions, especially that concerning the feasibility study fees amounting to some €1.2 million which weigh heavily on the two local clubs AEL and Aris who were involved in the plans for the stadium before Apollonas became involved.

Had the correct procedures been followed, the tab would have been picked up by the state.

Monday’s meeting also saw confirmation of the Bank financing the project that the required funds were available.

The government is confident that both the Competitions Authority and the European Commission will look favourably on the project as it contains elements of social benefit.

“It is a project that will greatly benefit Limassol in combatting hooliganism, promoting sports and other events which can be staged at the stadium,” said Papadopoulos.

“State Services have prepared on their behalf, now it’s up to the clubs,” said Papadopoulos appealing to the clubs to synchronise their efforts in order for the government to present the case to the Competition Authority and to prevent any further delays.

“The clubs need to pay for the feasibility studies,” said Papadopoulos. “There are consultants who need to be paid before the start cooperating with state authorities. The clubs need to find the money,” added Papadopoulos.

“The clubs also need to pay for the planning and building permits before we can invite for tenders,” said Papadopoulos adding that the whole issue of stadia are governed by a series of EU regulations concerning management and tenders which need to be addressed with the Competition Authority.

“Here is the Commission prepared to see things in a positive light if we can convincingly argue why the management of the stadium should be undertaken by the three clubs,” concluded Papadopoulos

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