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LASK unveils climate-neutral stadium as Raiffeisen retains naming rights

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Austrian Bundesliga football club LASK has revealed plans to develop a new climate-neutral stadium, with banking group Raiffeisen set to continue as naming rights sponsor.

The Linz-based club currently plays at the Raiffeisen Arena in Pasching, but as its current home only has a capacity of 6,087, LASK has to stage European matches at the larger Linzer Stadion.

The new Raiffeisen Arena will be developed on the site of the Linzer Stadion and will have a capacity of 20,234 for domestic football, reducing to 18,011 for international competitions. It will meet Category 4 requirements of European football’s governing body, Uefa, and will also cater to Austrian national team games and the ÖFB Cup final.

LASK said a “future-proof” energy concept has been developed together with Energie AG. Electricity will be generated via photovoltaic systems on the stadium’s roof structure. In association with another commercial partner, water treatment company BWT, only recyclable drinking bottles and cups will be used meaning the stadium will be plastic-free.

LASK president Siegmund Gruber said: “As a forward-looking club, we naturally cannot avoid environmental protection and sustainability. We are happy to make our contribution here and thank our partners, without whom such a project would not be possible.”

The stadium complex will also offer a health centre, expanded training areas, meeting and office space, a business club, a club shop, a LASK chapel and a restaurant. LASK claims that with an area of 1,000 square metres, the complex will also provide the largest children’s arena in Europe. “A visit to the Raiffeisen Arena should be an experience for the whole family,” Gruber added.

Concerning its naming rights partnership, Heinrich Schaller, general director of Raiffeisenlandesbank OÖ, said: “It is important to us that Upper Austria gets a beautiful, modern and future-oriented stadium that does justice to Linz’s status as a sports city. Above all, it also creates strong regional investment stimuli for our business location and creates added value and jobs.”

Work is expected to begin on the new stadium in early 2021, with a view towards completion ahead of the 2022-23 season.