Ice Hockey World Championships arena in trouble

New hockey arena in Bratislava takes shape

The Ice Hockey World Championships is just around the corner and the newly refurbished stadium in Bratislava has become entangled in financial problems. Now Bratislava mayor Andrej Durkovsky is trying to resolve the situation through negotiations with the government and the Slovak Ice Hockey Association (SZLH).

The Ice hockey World Championships will take place in Kosice and Bratislava in the spring of 2011, but contractual issues, finger-pointing and a rising budget are all starting to strain the completion of the completely reconstructed Ondrej Nepela arena.

The City of Bratislava is being blamed for not settling its bills in relation to the contractor Ingsteel, which is now threatening to halt work if the rising debts aren’t cleared. This could then threaten the Ice Hockey World Championships themselves.

City councillors adopted a resolution this week for mayor Durkovsky to open talks with the government to resolve the situation regarding funding. In addition to money already spent, another EUR 14.3 million will be required to complete the arena. Durkovsky is saddened by how the government is not pulling its weight to finance the construction, and he says that if no progress is made through the talks then it will be up to the new mayor to deal with it, as he himself is not running for re-election.

The Bratislava municipal investment organisation GIB has announced that the championships will not be threatened and that the investing bank will cover the outstanding debt of EUR 7.9 million. To date Bratislava has invested EUR 26 million on the new arena, but the initial budgeted costs have been overshot and so around EUR 14.5 million is still needed.

Work is moving forward nonetheless, and the new arena is looking good, so everyone is still confident that the Ice Hockey World Championships 2011 in Slovakia will be a good one.

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