As many will recall, Ukraine held the Euro 2012 football championships – Odessa was not a host city – but it built a new football stadium anyway – and very good it is – albeit the biggest names to play there thus far have been bands such as Linkin Park and Garbage.
Less well known is that Ukraine is to host the EuroBasket 2015, European Basketball Championships. Neither Ukraine nor Odessa have particularly shabby basketball teams. Championship winners they may not be, but bottom of the league they are not either.
Anyway, it appears that Odessa will have two brand new multi-functional stadiums and an extensive refurbishment of the existing Sports Palace on Prospect Shevchenko (opposite Victory Park) in order to host part of the EuroBasket 2015 competition. The construction of, and refurbishment of these premises will cost UAH 42 million (about $5 million) and will be carried out by Ihor Kolomoisky’s business group. Ergo, we had better hope that parts of his empire like Privat Bank survive, whilst other parts, such as AeroSvit go bankrupt (deliberately or otherwise).
The new stadium will be built on the grounds of what is currently known as October Revolution Plant and will have seating for 10,000 or more people. The plan is that is will also be able to host hockey, 5/7-a-side indoor football etc after the EuroBasket competition is over.
On the outskirts of Odessa, it is planned to build a multi-purpose training facility. Location as yet unknown/identified apparently – very much like the UAH 42 million to pay Mr Kolomoisky for his efforts – as the source of this funding is also currently unknown.
Nevertheless, it appears that Odessa will soon have not only the new and very good Chernomoretz football stadium, but also one extensively refurbished, and one new multi-purpose indoor arena, together with a multi-purpose training facility.
Ignoring all the possible shenanigans and probably nefarious mechanics behind the who, where and how of this project, I have one hope – the design and facilities will be conducive to disabled access and sporting participation long after the EuroBasket 2015 circus has left.
Too much to hope for?