Romania's new National Arena -- a UEFA category 4 stadium -- cost 234m
euros to build and was inaugurated on September 6th.
Almost 50,000 people came to the new stadium for the inaugural match
The match, however, was marred by the poor condition of the grass, which
was only installed a few days before.
The new stadium was built at the site of the old national stadium, Lia
Manoliu. It had been built in 1953, in memory of the Olympic discus champion,
and was demolished in 2007.
The last match held in the old stadium was Romania vs Albania, in November
The seats in the new 108,000 square metre stadium incorporate Romania's
The new stadium has a retractable roof that opens and closes in just 15
minutes. Thanks to that feature, the arena can be used 365 days a year.
Bucharest municipality hopes to rent out the stadium for other public events,
such as concerts.
National Arena, along the Basarab Passage (flyover), is Bucharest’s largest
infrastructure project in the last 21 years.
Fans say the new stadium marks a step forward for Romanian football. "One
associates sports with a show. And this is what we get here, regardless of what
the team does on the pitch,” Alex, a 34-year-old fan of the national soccer
team, told SETimes.
"It sorts of balances things: the national team going down in the world
football hierarchy while we get a modern stadium. Maybe this [will be a]
stimulus for the players," he added.
However, not all are as thrilled with the new arena. "The old stadium used
to be a multifunctional one. Now the new stadium, as modern as it is, can only
be used for football games, which is a pity," Adi Dobre, a sports commentator,
The arena will host the 2012 Champions League finals, the first ever to
take place in the country.