exclusive/Çeku reveals the 5-year plan: 27 stadiums are renovated and built

Within the next five years, 27 stadiums are planned to be built and renovated in Kosovo, including the national stadium.

This is the plan that the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Hajrulla, has revealed exclusively to KosovaPress Çeku. He said that the agreement was reached with the Football Federation of Kosovo (FFK), UEFA, FIFA and 16 municipalities of Kosovo for the implementation of this project so that Kosovo will be ready with sports infrastructure for the Mediterranean Games of 2030 .

"We launched a few months ago in cooperation with the Football Federation of Kosovo, with several mayors of municipalities, a joint plan for consolidating the football infrastructure in our country. Now this also corresponds to the plan we have for the Mediterranean Games, but this is a process that started earlier for which we had a visit to the two world football houses in UEFA and FIFA, we met with the respective presidents and we have their professional support, we will also aim for financial support to help us in this large state enterprise. We already have a joint memorandum with 16 mayors of municipalities and the president of the Football Federation, where we jointly share the tasks related to the consolidation of the football infrastructure. So, we are talking about 27 football infrastructure projects, some of them are renovations, some of them are constructions from scratch", said Çeku.

From this project, with renovated or completely new stadiums, many municipalities are expected to be built, such as Prishtina, Prizren, Gjilan, Peja, Gjakova and Ferizaj.

"As an obligation in relation to the Mediterranean Games, we have committed to the construction of the national stadium of Kosovo and this stadium will already pass the stage of a study and a master plan for all the games where the location and capacity are determined for the national stadium of the Republic of Kosovo . In addition, we have started with the procedures for the construction of the new stadium in Bërnica, in Pristina, it will be an auxiliary stadium for the needs of the clubs of the capital of Kosovo. In Peja, we are going with the total renovation of the city stadium 'Shani Haxhiislami'... In Ferizaj, the issue is a bit more specific, the city of Ferizaj does not have a decent stadium. Even there, the ministry has contracted the operator who is doing the feasibility study, so for determining the location as a first step and when the location is determined, it will draw up the implementation project for the new Ferizaj stadium... Renovation of the city stadium in Gjakovë, which is a project to which the Municipality of Gjakova also contributes... With 'Përparim Thaçi' in Prizren, we have completed one phase and now only the last phase remains, which makes the city stadium 'Përparim Thaçi' fully functional in Prizren", he explained Çeku.

Smaller municipalities such as Shtimja, Suhareka, Rahoveci and Malisheva are also expected to benefit from the plan for the preparation for the Mediterranean Games.

"In Shtime, the procedure has started for contracting the operator who will do the renovation of the city stadium in Shtime, while the same will be done with the new Rahovec stadium... In Drenas, the construction of the Drenas stadium is ongoing. There, too, we are looking at the possibility of financial support for the municipality to finish this stadium as soon as possible. To continue with other local stadiums, there is the Pozharan stadium in Viti, there is the city stadium in Malishevë which we are co-financing with the municipality and it is a project that is being realized and the operator's promise is that the construction will be completed by the end of the year of the stadium in Malishevë and is fully functional at the service of athletes. With Suharek and our team of champions and international successes, the Balkans, discussions have already intensified with the mayor of the municipality to determine the location", he said. Çeku.

As for the national stadium, the first MKRS revealed that its construction was a specific request of the International Committee of the Mediterranean Games.

"Yes, it is a specific request of theirs that is especially related to two main ceremonies, the opening and the closing, this is very important, but not only. Both football and athletics are very important sports within the Mediterranean Games and we must ensure that we will have adequate solutions for these. Yes, always making sure these new builds don't just serve games. This is how we argued our vision when we presented the candidacy," he emphasized Çeku.

According to Çekut, the cost for the construction of the national stadium will be very high and that for this they are also seeking funds from other countries.

"The cost will be large because we are talking about the stadium with the largest capacity, I believe, in Kosovo and in this sense we will also look for other sources of financing. So, we have agreed within the government and with the Minister of Finance that we intend to secure funds from other countries and from alternative sources to more easily cover the cost of building the national stadium of Kosovo... The new sports law treats it in a way especially the issue of managing sports facilities in our country. We are now at the end of the discussion, there are some models that have been proposed, because we have seen how the world does this work so that we can learn from their experiences, we have seen a little of how our experience has been, generally not good, with many trouble, often the burden is left only to municipalities, sometimes to federations or clubs, and this causes great costs, management incompetence, and today we do not have a sustainable model for the management of these sports facilities", said Çeku.

Considering the organization of the Mediterranean Games as the biggest historical event for Kosovo, Çeku requested nationwide mobilization so that in 2030, everything will be ready to welcome thousands of athletes from three continents in our country.

"Someone is saying that 6-7 years are far away because sometimes this matter of the Mediterranean Games, a little humorously, is interpreted as something distant and seen as a commitment that comes sometime later, it is the opposite. I think that the time is probably not short, but every day we have to work to reach the 2030 target because we are not only talking about new stadiums. We have committed in the contract we have with ICMG that we will build at least four more infrastructural sports fields and one of them is the Olympic swimming pool complex of Kosovo, again a very large undertaking, not only in the sense of the cost but also the complexity of the construction because even there are very strict international standards... I believe that if we are all mobilized together we will reach the target to consolidate the physical sports infrastructure, but the organizational capacity is equally important", he said Çeku.

The infrastructure that will be built within these five years and the organization of the Mediterranean Games, according to Çekut, will serve for exceptional promotion of Kosovo athletes in the international arena.

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