This week saw 72 hydraulic cranes lift Warsaw’s new US$400m national stadium’s retractable roof on to the structure, Polish football clubs hope that the flagship stadium will launch a revival in the nations fortunes in the sport.
Four stadia are being constructed in Poland ahead of the 2012 European Championships which will be co-hosted by Ukraine. The nations clubs are spending an estimated $1.3 billion to ensure that a further 20 arenas are built with the Polish economy growing at double the pace of the euro region.
In an interview last month, chief executive officer of Legia, one of Warsaw’s two top-division sides, Pawel Kosmala stated: “The perception of the game is changing in Poland. We went to heaven from hell compared to last season,” after the club moved to a new 31,000-seat stadium in August.
The nation of Poland has had a huge task on their hands to clean up corruption in the game as well as tackling severe hooliganism issues in order to convince UEFA that it is fit to stage a major tournament. Poland is now targetting the sort of revenue generated by clubs in Europe’s top soccer nations such as England.
The country’s top division, Ekstraklasa, believes that the new stadiums and greater public interest in football will allow it to increase income from television rights. According to the league’s website, the average attendance of league games has risen 60 per cent from last year in the opening half of the season, to a record 8,271.
[Source: I sport Connect]