Panathinaikos sign contract for stadium and complex redevelopment

Panathinaikos Stadium

Athens-based club Panathinaikos have recently signed a contract to build a new, modern multi-purpose complex for their team with plans to move into the stadium by 2026.

In a statement issued on the club’s website, Panathinaikos said the signing of the final construction contract for the stadium is one of the most important moments in the history of the club.

In November 2020, Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Greek government for this project that promised to deliver a 40,000 seat stadium with a 4-star FIFA international standard rating as well as a bigger multi-purpose complex. This complex would feature a 12,500-seat basketball arena, a 1,500-capacity volleyball venue, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, other facilities and at least 80 acres of green spaces. However, works are finally going to be done now.

The entire project has a budget of €163.5m ($269.5m AUD), with the stadium itself set to cost around €72m ($118.7m AUD). Another benefit of this long-term expensive project is the goal that it will not only transform Panathinaikos as a club, but also be of use for the Greek national team and its bigger international matches, which was a key talking point in negotiations.

Yannis Alafouzos, shareholder PAE Panathinaikos, expressed his delight at the proposed revolutionary project.

“Today is a historic moment for Panathinaikos. A decade-long dream, for the club to acquire its own home, is entering the implementation phase,” he said via press release.

“Panathinaikos changes level with the stadium in Botanikos. The club’s cell, the Sports Club, will finally acquire the facilities that befit the history of Greece’s most victorious club. It is an honour for me that during my days in the ownership of PAE, the completely fair request of Panathinaikos to acquire its own stadium is satisfied.”

Panathinaikos currently plays home matches at the Olympic Stadium, which also hosts rival Super League club AEK Athens.

This change is necessary for one of the oldest and most successful clubs in Greece, who need a stadium of their own as well as the multi-sport complex to advance their player development for the football team as well as focusing more on their basketball side in the Euro League. There is a clear plan in place, starting with this project, to become a strong name in Europe across multiple sports.

Football SA extending Development Centres throughout regional and metropolitan areas

Football SA Development Centres

Football South Australia (SA) announced the expansion of its Development Centres for boys and girls from ages nine to 13.

This expansion will offer more football and more opportunities for players in the Barossa, Noarlunga, Port Lincoln and Metropolitan Adelaide.

The five new centres add to the four currently located in the Limestone Coast, Whyalla, Riverland and the Adelaide Hills, taking the total up to nine centres in 2024.

Much of the talk has been the incredible impact that the home soil FIFA Women’s World Cup has had on football participation in the country across all age groups. There has been a notable uptick in player participation in regional areas , registering a 16.5% increase. Across the entire state, there is overall growth of 9%.

The key goal of the Football SA Development Centres expansion is to lay the grassroots foundation in place and create a suitable environment for kids so that their talent is recognised and captured by coaches.

These added sessions as a result of the expansion are designed not to conflict with existing club activities and will enhance players’ fundamental footballing skills.

Football SA Technical Director Michael Cooper touched on the opportunity this opens up for player development at the early ages.

“When we started the original program in 2023, we had the vision to implement a state-wide program that provides equal opportunities for players to progress to our State programs and offerings, which are highly regarded nationally,” Cooper said via Football SA press release.

“Taking our programs to regional South Australia has prevented the need for young players to travel week in week out to Adelaide for specialised coaching. This illustrates our support for regional associations and pathways we collectively offer.

“We are excited to see all players come together at events such as the State Development Carnival in July and I am confident more players will be identified from regional areas in the future.”

An issue Football South Australia touched on in their 2023-2026 Strategic Plan was the lack of regional players making the transition into state and regional squads.

The key function of Football SA, as mentioned on their website, has always been player development and to increase participation. This Development Centre expansion will service the regional communities and allow potential talented players, who weren’t recognised before, to grow through a natural pathway up until they represent state squads.

Cádiz CF outlines plan for new sports technology centre

Cádiz Sportech City

LALIGA football club Cádiz CF has unveiled plans to construct a brand-new sports technology centre which will be known as ‘Sportech City’.

The centre is expected to deliver significant results in the sports technology industry, and assert Cádiz’s position in the top-flight of Spanish football.

In addition, the centre aims to make a positive impact in areas outside of the football club, most notably in health and education. A short video released on its official YouTube channel helped outline the proposed facilities within Sportech City.

These include:

  • A 7,500-square-metre data centre.
  • A dedicated sports university.
  • 5,600 square metres dedicated to laboratories and prototype validation for user experience.
  • An events/congress centre.
  • A technological business incubator centre with 6,100 square metres of offices.
  • Health and medical services.
  • A designated retail zone.

Sportech City is the latest plan to be announced since La Liga introduced its ‘Impulso’ agreement with CVC Capital Partners in 2021. The agreement provided nearly two billion euros (3.3 million AUD) for Spanish football clubs to invest in technology, innovation, internationalisation, and sporting growth initiatives.

Plans for the centre are being coordinated between the club and professional services firm KPMG, who believe the centre will stimulate the local economy. It is estimated that 4,000 jobs will be created for the construction of Sportech City alone, with a further 2,900 jobs expected for the running of the centre.

According to sources within the club, Cádiz CF hopes to generate a minimum of 15 million euros (24.7 million AUD) per year once it begins operation.

Cádiz CF, like many clubs that sit beneath the traditional giants of Spanish football, have suffered a turbulent off-field history.

However, under president Manuel Vizcaíno’s stewardship since 2019, the club attracted overseas investment which helped them return to the top-flight of Spanish football for just the fourth time in its 123-year existence.

Sportech City is hoped to be the next initiative under an ambitious Vizcaíno that will bring success not just to the football club, but to the city of Cádiz.

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