Time Trial for New Stadiums – Jeune Afrique

The country has begun construction and reconstruction of its stadiums. But corruption, raw material prices or legal problems for some industrialists have led to significant delays in the construction of some sites.

On March 7, during a trip to the vilayet of Constantine, the Minister of Sports of Algeria, Abderrazak Sebgaq, firmly expressed his dissatisfaction: the Shahid-Khamlaoui stadium (40,000 seats), the object of major restoration works, including the laying of a new turf, was supposed to be delivered in March 2022 . But some of the companies chosen to carry out these missions are way behind schedule.

But Constantine has to play several matches of the African Nations Championship (Chan, organized from January 8 to 31, 2023). Abderrazak Sebgag, warning that latecomers would be sanctioned, pressured the local authorities in charge of the case to deliver the investment as quickly as possible.

The minister recalled that the state “mobilized the necessary financial loans, as well as all the equipment and means of implementation necessary for the implementation of the project”, that is, the adaptation of the stadium to international standards. Before that, he warned that he would return to the site in April to check the strict implementation of his instructions.

Race against time

The Shahid-Khamlaoui stadium is one of those that have been chosen to host the matches of the competition: July 5 in Algiers (85,000 seats), May 19, 1956 in Annaba (56,000 seats), all two are also under rehabilitation.

In 2021, two new buildings emerged from the ground – the Olympic Stadium in Oran (seats 40,143), the venue for the next Mediterranean Games (from June 25 to July 5, 2022) and the Baraki Stadium south of Algiers (seats 40,714). will also accept Chan.

As for the Algerian club Mouloudia, they will soon play at the 40,000-seat Douera stadium southwest of the capital, at a cost of €105 million. The stadiums that will host CAN U-17 matches in 2023 are not yet known.

Thus, Algeria embarked on a massive project to modernize its sports infrastructure, as did Morocco and Egypt. Not without difficulty. “There were stadiums. But they no longer met FIFA standards in terms of safety, reception of fans, etc. The problem arose, in particular, due to maintenance, but also because of the preference for synthetic surfaces, ”analyzes Ali Fergani, former Fennecs coach.

Additional costs reach almost indecent amounts

If it wants to be able to organize the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) in the medium term, Algeria must renovate or build stadiums. “The problem is that some sites drag on for years,” the former international specialist laments. The Konstantin Stadium is just one of many examples: in Tizi-Ouzou, a stadium for 50,000 people took fifteen years to build.

Explosion of value

Costs have risen sharply – we are talking about a bill of almost 330 million euros – for a hull that is not yet completed. The situation with the Baraki stadium is hardly better, since construction began in … 2004. “For several months, even for several years, work was interrupted. This explains these delays in delivery,” Ferghani says again.

The topic is clearly sensitive in Algeria. Several people we contacted chose not to respond to our interview requests. “Additional costs when you build a stadium are quite common, whether in Europe, Africa or anywhere else. But here it reaches almost indecent amounts. The example of the Tizi-Ouzou stadium perfectly illustrates the situation, ”the leader of the Algerian professional club ironically.

Corruption

“There have been changes in the companies that were supposed to participate in its construction. This stops work and the money is wasted… But don’t worry! He is not lost to everyone. You don’t have to keep a close eye on all these files to realize that some people are using them in passing. A lot of money is stolen. The problem is that it is often government money,” he denounces.

The project, approved in 2006, was for the construction of a 40,000-seat stadium and was then scaled up to accommodate 50,700 people.

The Tizi Ouzou Stadium will cost twice as much as the Juventus Stadium in Turin.

The market went to a group consisting of ETRHB Haddad (a group of jailed businessman Ali Haddad) and FCC-Barcelona (Spain). Work began only in 2010, before the divorce between the two partners in 2014.

Turkey’s MAPA group took on the finalization of an upwardly revised project, which, in addition to increasing the capacity of the enclosure, built a real sports facility, including, among other things, an athletics track for 6,000 seats.

“The country has gone through difficult economic times and we have also witnessed strong price increases for some of the materials needed to build the stadium, which has driven up costs,” explains Yazid Wahib, journalist El Watan.

The building, which has yet to be completed, will cost twice as much as the Juventus Stadium in Turin (41,500 seats, worth between 155 and 160 million euros) and will approach or exceed the Allianz Arena in Munich (75,000 seats, 345 million euros, three years of operation).

Ali Haddad’s legal troubles inevitably led to the termination of the contract with the ETRHB group and another stoppage of the site for two years until it resumes in 2021. In October, the Algerian company Cosider was tasked with completing the work by 2023.

CAN 2027: Algerian candidate?

Algeria has long been content with its aging stadiums, more or less well maintained, such as Blida (Mustafa-Chaker), where the national team has played almost all of its matches since 2008.

“The time has come for the country to acquire new modern buildings that meet international standards. The main ones were built in the 1970s, for example, on July 5, 1962 in Algiers (1972) or 1980 (Annaba),” continues Ali Ferghani.

The last time it hosted the competition was in 1990, when only eight teams participated and two stadiums were enough. If the next two editions were awarded to Côte d’Ivoire (2023) and Guinea (2025), it is possible that Algeria will apply for participation in 2027.

The president of the Algerian Football Federation (FAF), Sharafeddin Amara, recently admitted that the body is exploring the possibility of nominating a possible candidacy before submitting it to the country’s authorities … “And if Guinea, as they say, are not ready, Algeria can become, like Morocco, an emergency solution for CAF “concludes the federation’s well-informed leader.