COVID-19 ordeal for Luxembourg’s ‘Red Lions’



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Luxembourg National Stadium April 2020 Image: FLF

The Luxembourg Football Federation (FLF) has given up on its dream to play in its new national stadium (Stade National de Luxembourg) this year, stating that COVID-19 has played spoilsport meaning it will be 2021 before games are staged at the venue.

The construction of the new national stadium has hit the COVID-19 speedbreaker, and the Luxembourg Football Federation estimates that it will not be able to host any games in 2020.

Luxembourg is a small European country, surrounded by Belgium, France and Germany.

The National Stadium of Luxembourg is the future national stadium of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, located in the Luxembourg City quarter of Gasperich. The stadium will host Luxembourg’s national football and rugby teams and is to be listed as a Category 4 stadium by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) allowing it to host international matches.

The Luxembourg Football Federation had hoped to play UEFA Nations League matches at the stadium from October this year, but is now planning for these matches to be held at the existing Stade Josy Barthel.

Stade Josy Barthel is the national stadium of Luxembourg, home to the Luxembourg national football team and is also used for rugby union and athletics. It is located on route d’Arlon, in the Luxembourg City quarter of Belair.

The latest news comes after it was revealed in July last year that the construction project in the town of Kockelscheuer would cost 30 percent more than originally expected. At the time, the venue was expected to open next month after the original deadline of October 2019 was postponed.

It was originally allocated a budget of €60m (£52.3m/$65.2m). However, the local authorities cited errors in relation to the “calculation of the design offices”, as well as additional facilities requested by the police, football’s European governing body UEFA and the Luxembourg Football Federation for the price tag rising to €78m.

The stadium, which will be able to accommodate 9,385 fans for sports matches and up to 15,000 guests for concerts, will offer 5G connectivity. However, it will now be delayed yet again due to the coronavirus storm.

Luxembourg Football Federation Secretary General Joël Wolff told mediapersons, “There is nothing official but it is a simple matter of calculation. The stadium was to be delivered by September/October this year. The work is stopped and should be at least two months late. This brings us to the end of November, or the beginning of December. So there will be no more matches (this year).”

Wolff added, “At this stage, we already have no guarantee that a match can be played with spectators by the end of the year. If we listen to the experts, many believe that no mass event should be organized before 2021.”

With this in mind, the Luxembourg Football Federation is now said to be targeting Luxembourg’s 2022 FIFA World Cup™ qualification matches for the first major events at the new stadium. These are set to commence in March 2021.

Just a month back, the leaders of the Luxembourg Football Federation hoped that the Luxembourg national football team or the ‘Red Lions’ could play its Nations League matches in October in the new national stadium.

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