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It’s been a few days since Brno’s politicians apparently sealed the fate of one of the most famous stadiums in the Czech Republic. The legendary “Lužánky” with the attendance record of the football league is to go down in the coming months. In addition, the city added a surprising piece of information. He does not count on the return of professional football to the lucrative location in the center – despite his own strategic documents.
The coalition led by the ODS and the ANO movement is talking about other planned sports venues. She had already blown the whistle on the athletic hall on the university campus. It also stopped the velodrome in Komárov and further pushed back the construction of the sports complex in Anthropos, all the former sports priorities of the city.
Politicians thus de facto torpedoed the long-term plan for the development of sports, which was consecrated by a coalition with a very similar composition last year before the elections. The still valid strategic document for the years 2018 to 2030, drawn up also in cooperation with university experts, envisages a completely different distribution of sports fields. It is important for every city to have a clear vision in which sequence it wants to build billion-dollar buildings.
“It seems to me that such a strategy is missing in Brno. It is the same as the multifunctional hall. There was neither a debate nor an architectural competition. And suddenly it builds. I’m afraid that there is no strategic argumentation why the original proposals regarding football in Lužánky or the velodrome at the exhibition grounds were burned down,” emphasizes architect Luděk Šimoník from the well-known studio Chybik+Kristof.
New sports priorities of Brno
For Loafers is to be moved again a velodrome for cyclists together with an athletics hall. At the same time, she previously obtained a building permit on the university campus. However, the city blew the whistle on the prepared project last yearas well as the velodrome in Komárov.
The political assignment is also criticized by the opposition. “It’s just a joke. Ball lightning action. At the same time, even in the updated concept approved last year before the elections, the football stadium in Lužánky was at the forefront,” says opposition representative Matěj Hollan (Žít Brno). He claims that Brno sacrificed other large sports and cultural projects at the expense of the hockey hall.
Mayor Markéta Vaňková (ODS) says in any case that the opinion sanctified by the city architect is definitive. “The intention was quite clear. When we discussed it at the level of the Brno city management, we unanimously agreed on it,” he confirms.
Blitz chess has another important subtext. The area behind Lužánky, which has served Brno sports since the post-war years, is located on billion-dollar city plots. In addition, the municipality succeeded in a protracted legal dispute with the companies of businessman Libor Procházka, which unblocks the management of the territory.
According to former councilor Marko Fišer (Pirates), who worked for the return of football for Lužánky in the previous coalition, although the new vision of the sports fields may seem logical, he does not understand the city’s communication. “Decisions are hasty and I don’t know how deliberate. I don’t like the arguments of the city management, why it is not possible to build behind Lužánky,” he says.
Councilor for sports Tomáš Aberl (TOP 09) does not see a problem in the changes. “We are working on adjusting the sports concept so that it reflects what we have just said, and it is clear what the priority buildings of the city of Brno are. I think it’s normal that with new leadership comes some change in direction. We will only refine the concept,” he responds.
Cheap powerpoint in action
The opposition agrees that the sudden changes are just taxes for the construction of the six-billion multi-functional arena, for which Brno is taking a loan of more than two billion. Over 150 million per year will be spent on its repayment alone, while in recent years the city has spent around half a billion crowns per year on all sports in Brno. It is so clear to politicians that the city can hardly afford another big sports project.
As already reported by Nauzal, the municipality relied on a relatively shallow PowerPoint presentation from the workshop of the city architect to support Brno’s chess and sports. His team examined nine locations for the sports venue. He identified the exhibition center as the most suitable place for the reduced football stadium.
The “change of direction” unnecessarily deprived Brno of additional tens of millions of public money, which paid for the preparation and design of virtual buildings. Politicians like to attract them especially before elections, but they regularly end up in the trash.
After all, a well-known joke says that “Brno is a city that has a visualization for everything”. Although often none of the beautiful pictures turn into reality.
Already last year, the city had to deal with the designer and construction companies because of the stop sign for the athletics hall, which had a building permit after years of preparation. Price? At least 34 million crowns.
The city’s in-house designer, the firm Arch.Design, which, among other things, entrusted the city with the project for a multifunctional arena for nearly 80 million crowns without a tender, also still boasts about the velodrome project in Komárov on its website. Since 2007, territorial studies and the city’s sports concept for the years 2018–2030 have been counting on the location near Svratka.
“In connection with the velodrome in Komárov, the city paid over 10.5 million crowns,” Roman Burián, the municipality’s spokesman, explains to Seznam Zzpravy.
Hladík’s invalid word
In this case, Arch.Design valued the work on the project at more than eight million crowns. Although the city will pay the company only a part in the end, it will still be necessary to rework the plans in another location.
Although the current minister of the environment and former deputy Petr Hladík (KDU-ČSL) vouched for the velodrome in Komárov, his coalition colleague Aberl now claims that the plan has turned out to be unrealistic.
“Flood prevention measures would have to be solved there first, so we are talking about 10 years. We have to respond to the current times,” he objects.
For years, the city has been planning the renovation of the sports complex in Pisárky next to the river Svratka. It has a national climbing center, a small soccer field and, in the next phase, a boating channel. The total investment will grow to over a billion crowns.
Arch.Design will draw everything. Needlessly
The project part of the first stage is in charge of the company Arch.Design, which charges almost 20 million crowns. The city took over the land free of charge from the Ministry of Defense four years ago with the condition that it restore the area by 2023. It has not yet hit the ground running.
Under the threat of a fine, Brno negotiated an extension of the deadline until 2028 with the army department.
It doesn’t have to be definitive either. The opponents contested the building proceedings. “We decided to redesign the project to meet the requirements of public sports fields. We’ll see what the new price will be,” Aberl said.
The eviction also applies to the multifunctional sports field in Lužánky for 200 million crowns, which was supposed to serve, for example, Sáblíková’s successors. The previous coalition led by Vaňková boasted about the visualizations from the workshop of the company Arch.Design even last year before the elections, saying that it could be built this year. But in March, she stopped the project for at least a year. The city invested almost three million crowns in the preparations.
The team of the well-known Brno architect Petr Hrůš designed the football Coliseum for Lužánky 15 years ago. In 2016, his studio updated the plans. “The project was ready and a tender could be issued for the construction contractor,” he says. Despite the claims of the current coalition, the project still meets the strict parameters of FIFA and UEFA.
Where humor ends and criminal liability begins
The city’s plans are different now. The football stadium at the fairgrounds can grow only after the new velodrome is built. This could easily take another 10 years.
“I was not involved in previously approved projects. We have now embarked on a path where we want to reduce costs, on the contrary,” emphasizes Aberl.
At the same time, the city management has changed only partially over the years. For example, the People’s Party, who have been in the council since 2014, part of the time even under the leadership of Hladík, were preparing sports projects. List News asked the current Minister of the Environment what he says about the coalition’s turnaround. He didn’t respond.
In addition to the stopped sports projects, Hollan also mentions the cultural ones. According to him, the city has so far unnecessarily left tens of millions on the ice in preparations for the concert hall or the restoration of the former penitentiary. “It’s a matter of theoretical reflection, where are the limits of political legitimacy to waste public money like this, to make fun of it, and where does some criminal responsibility begin,” he says.
Account for selected unrealized sports projects
An athletic hall on a university campus
Project cancelled. Costs: at least 34 million crowns (incl. VAT).
Project cancelled. Costs: 10.6 million crowns paid.
Multifunctional sports ground in Lužánky
Project suspended and likely to be cancelled. Costs: 2.8 million crowns paid.
Sports and recreation complex Anthropos
The project will be revised. Costs: 22.7 million crowns paid so far.
The city management is now concentrating a large part of its efforts and money on the construction of a multifunctional arena. But it again beckons for more constructions. With new promises, politicians won over, for example, football showman Petar Švancar or athletes and cyclists, even though they know very well that the key fundraising for planned sports venues will be handled by their successors anyway. And none of the politicians can guarantee if everything will be different again in three years.
Loafers. Skyscrapers instead of football?
However, the current coalition still has enough time to decide on the further fate of the lucrative area beyond Lužánky. Although the city planned a football stadium or a water park there in the original concept, it is now preparing a new territorial study. And he talks cautiously about “mixed development”.
According to Hrůš, the area behind Lužánky can be a showcase of the city, but the site must be approached sensitively and comprehensively from an urban planning point of view.
The opposition fears a different scenario. “I’m a little worried that the plots behind Lužánky will only be sold, where skyscrapers will be built on the site of the current football stadium, the money will be partially used for the construction of a multi-functional hall, and the rest will just remain on paper,” Fišer recently wrote on Facebook.
To his fears, the road may open in the second half of October. The city wants to announce the details of the demolition of the Luzánec stadium.