Colombia’s Atanasio Girardot Stadium revamp on the cards

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The Atanasio Girardot Stadium – the best stadium in Medellin – is likely to witness major revamp in the coming years. Currently, the venue does not match up to FIFA benchmark.

The overhaul work is being planned with an eye on the 2030 World Cup. It will be Colombia’s first stadium project to be delivered in the public-private partnership (PPP) mode.

Colombia is one among numerous South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) countries keen to host the 2030 World Cup. Negotiations are on to host the sporting extravaganza jointly with Ecuador and Peru. Medellin is among Colombia’s host city candidates.

The present scenario is that Estadio Anatasio Girardot meets only 30 per cent of FIFA regulations for international matches. A change is the need of the hour, but the city is not in a position to carry out such a major project on its shoulders. This is where Agencia APP comes into play. It’s a governmental body in Colombia created to promote and monitor public-private partnerships (PPP).

The agency is mooting a spruced-up project which would cost $458-million and would redefine the stadium. It would comply with more than 90 per cent of FIFA requirements, though the existing seating bowl may not get impacted much.

The changes to be brought in are – brand new zones for disabled fans, hugely expanded secondary infrastructure which includes commercial facilities, hospitality, museum and various other amenities. Atanasio Girardot would get its first-ever complete roof and a modern outer wrap.

The project spreads much beyond the stadium, though. The upgrade work would include the nearby velodrome, a hotel as well as a medical center tower built. Currently, the project is at a pre-feasibility stage and it is expected to attract partners who would take the commercial/leisure precinct under their wings for 30 years. During this period, the partners would recoup their investment.

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