Young Boys get back old moniker ‘Wankdorf Stadium’

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Young Boys get back old moniker ‘Wankdorf Stadium’ Image: Stade de Suisse

Swiss Super League football club BSC Young Boys has entered into a pact with global biopharmaceutical company CSL Behring to restore the original ‘Wankdorf Stadium’ sobriquet to its home venue.

Stade de Suisse – the second largest all-seater football stadium in Bern, Switzerland, and the home ground of BSC Young Boys – got rolling in the year 2005 and came up on the site of the former home of Young BoysWankdorf Stadium. Wankdorf Stadium shut shop in July 2001 and was pulled down in August 2001.

Wankdorf Stadium had hosted the final of the 1954 FIFA World Cup. The new venue of Young Boys also went by the name Wankdorf Stadium before being renamed as Stade de Suisse ahead of Euro 2008, which Switzerland co-hosted with Austria.

The 1954 World Cup final at Wankdorf Stadium has gone down in football folklore as the ‘Miracle of Bern’, with West Germany coming back from 2-0 down against favourites Hungary to win 3-2 and lift the trophy for the first time. West Germany trouncing heavily favored Hungary stunned all and sundry.

The five-year formal agreement entered into between Bern-based Young Boys and CSL Behring restores the Wankdorf Stadium name to the facility from the start of the 2020-21 seasons and will run until 2025. The deal also has an option for extending the same for five more years.

As part of the deal, the club’s ground will be renamed the Wankdorf Stadium after being known as Stade De Suisse for 15 years. It has been a long-term objective of the top-flight club to retain the old name of the stadium which got translated into reality as CSL Behring waived the option to be incorporated within the venue’s name.

According to media reports, CSL Behring will pay an annual seven-figure fee for the sponsorship.

The renaming of the new venue as Stade de Suisse had raised eyebrows among English-speaking visitors. The Wankdorf name – named after the Swiss capital’s Wankdorf neighbourhood – was very popular among the locals. A petition for a name change in 2004 gathered more than 10,000 signatures.

Stated an elated Hans Peter Kienberger, President of the Board of Directors at Young Boys, “We are very pleased to be able to present a strong and innovative stadium partnership with CSL Behring, and we are particularly pleased that YB’s long-standing wish to regain the name ‘Wankdorf’ in the stadium designation is fulfilled. It speaks for CSL Behring that the new stadium partner deliberately renounced its naming and instead acts as a patron.”

Pierre Caloz, who handles CSL Behring’s production sites in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, added, “The return of the name Stadion Wankdorf has great emotional value for us. CSL Behring has been anchored in the Wankdorf district for 70 years.”

“We are also happy for our more than 1,700 dedicated employees. We have an excellent neighborhood with YB and the stadium, we already make use of synergies and potential, and we are proud that we can intensify our cooperation (with a stadium that) has gained worldwide renown with the ‘Miracle of Bern’ and is a sympathetic advertising medium with a great deal of appeal,” Caloz further added.

Caloz asserted, “Wankdorf is a place where we combine these emotions and values. Above all, our involvement in the Wankdorf district should be sustainable – for the benefit of Berne football, but also for the entire population and our employees.”

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