By Abdul Kerimkhanov
After the failure of the black PR campaign launched by the Armenians around the Europa League in Baku, Yerevan began to dream about turning Armenia into a world center of sports life, in particular, to host Olympic Games.
Vahagn Vermishyan, head of Armenia's Urban Planning Committee, noted that Chinese investors are interested in building a stadium in Armenia. He pointed to the need to build a stadium not only for football games, but also for possible Olympic Games, which would enable Armenia to host the games.
However, it is too early to think about the Olympic games, as there is no stadium in Armenia that meets international standards. The fact that capital of Azerbaijan already has many years of experience as an organizer of many world sports competitions has forced the new Armenian authorities to remember that the main stadium of the country is in a deplorable state.
Artur Vanetsyan, Director of the National Security Service, Chairman of the Football Federation of Armenia, during a government meeting on May 23 said that UEFA may disqualify the Republican Stadium in Yerevan.
He stressed that today Armenia does not have a football field that meets the required standards, adding that UEFA can disqualify Republican Stadium, because it does not meet international requirements.
In this regard, Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan stressed the importance of allocating territory for construction of the stadium, which will allow organizing international games in Armenia.
Pashinyan also asked about the possibility of reconstruction of Hrazdan stadium, in response to which Vanetsyan noted that huge investments are needed to bring it to the relevant international standards.
Vanetsyan noted that there are no guarantees that after the reconstruction of the stadium it will be accepted by UEFA, as its main problem is compliance with safety requirements. He added that the stadium requires the presence of several access roads and the possibility of a complete evacuation of the stadium in 15-20 minutes. He pointed out the impossibility of fulfilling these requirements in the case of the Hrazdan stadium.
The Hrazdan Stadium, which is Armenia's main sports arena, was declared bankrupt four years ago and its property and accounts were arrested. In November 2018, Vanetsyan noted that the arena was on bail of $26 million to HSBC bank.
In 2017, by the decision of the government, the Sports Complex Hrazdan was included in the state property privatization program. However, no one expressed a desire to buy it to this day.
Businessman Ashot Aghababyan has received the stadium for temporary use. He admitted that, given the poor state of Armenian football, no one will need this building. Aghababyan considered it necessary to rebuild the stadium into a multifunctional sports complex. The businessman intended to build pools on the site of the stadium and create conditions for beach volleyball. However, Aghababyan could not find money for these fantasies.
Armenian media bitterly state that in the current state of Armenian football, the occupancy of stadiums at the domestic championship matches is practically zero and extremely small during the games of the national team.
Considering the latter fact, Vanetsyan’s idea of creating a large arena in Yerevan loses all meaning. After all, in order to hold international competitions, besides the stadium, it is necessary to have many other conditions, which Armenia does not have.
Holding the Olympic Games in Armenia, which is an expensive pleasure, can plunge the country's economy into collapse. Therefore, before suffering from unrealistic dreams of holding the Olympic Games, Armenia should first withdraw its armed forces from occupied Karabakh and the seven adjacent regions, which will have a positive impact on Armenia both in the economic sphere and on the international authority of the country.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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