SC Paderborn 07 wants halt in stadium expansion work

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SC Paderborn update March 2020 Image: SC Paderborn

SC Paderborn 07 – a German association football club based in Paderborn, North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany – began redesigning their stadium earlier this year to meet basic infrastructural requirements of the Bundesliga which revolves around 8,000 individual seats (presently 5,800 out of 15,000 total capacities).

Benteler Arena is a multiuse football ground and home arena of SC Paderborn 07. The stadium has a capacity of 15,360 and first opened in 2008, costing the club a modest €25 million.

Though the construction work is still on but the Bundesliga club wants to put a hold on the work till the COVID-19 situation improves. However, to do so, the nod of Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH (DFL) or German Football League will be required.

The club cannot take a decision to stall work on its own. Because it’s a league requirement, Paderborn is in talks with the DFL (Bundesliga governing body). Should their conditional license to play without 8,000 individual seats be extended, they can put a hold on further work.

The whole development has been divided into two separate phases. In February this year, the first phase of development began with another floor added to Benteler-Arena’s western club building, along with a strip of new VIP places perched on top of the current stand. These works have not got impacted by the COVID-19 menace.

However, as per a recent statement made by the club, “There is a need to postpone further works until the situation is more stable. As the number of coronavirus cases is climbing up in Germany, non-essential works should be postponed.”

To date, Germany stands fourth in terms of the number of coronavirus cases – 105,519. The number of deaths stands at 1,854.

The second phase of the development work would include addition of an overhanging second tier atop three remaining stands (north, east and south). This way the seated capacity would go past 8,000, while the total crowd size for games would be 18,000.

Benteler Arena overview

As per earlier plans, by early 2021 the Bundesliga club’s Benteler Arena will reach 17,700 and might still be the very smallest throughout the league.

Still, the news called for celebration in Paderborn. Though the city lies in that part of the globe where football is a religion, German NRW, the club is actually an obscure one. So, the comeback after the painful relegation of 2014-15 must have been a morale booster for the community in which it resides.

The club suffered a hasty fall from grace, however, being relegated to the 2. Bundesliga after only a season in the top division, and then again to the 3. Liga the season after. The club returned to 2. Bundesliga, reaching the second spot in the 2018–19 seasons and was promoted to the Bundesliga.

But the comeback comes with a price. SC Paderborn supporters have to fork out more money than other Bundesliga-goers on an average. The lowest season ticket price for a standing place is €225. Nevertheless, cheaper than in Premier League but in Germany it’s the single most expensive starting price for season tickets. Meanwhile, Bayern supporters can get a season at Allianz Arena for €145.

FC Bayern Munich is a top-flight football club based in Munich, Bavaria, in Germany. It plays in Bundesliga, the top tier of the German football league system and their residence is Allianz Arena.

The price difference is huge taking into consideration the fact that Benteler Arena not just the smallest stadium of the league, it is also the single ground not to reach 20,000 in overall capacity. To put it across in simple words, the stadium fails to meet domestic top flight requirements in terms of capacity.

As of today the DFL (German FA) – the governing body of football in Germany – requires no fewer than 8,000 seats, which runs along the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Category 4 capacity criterion. While Benteler-Arena boasts a little over 15,000 in capacity, it only offers 5,800 seats, while the rest of the spectators remain standing. This is what has necessitated the expansion.

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