Site of Future Bundyokor Stadium, Tashkent, June 2010
When we last tuned into the ambitious plan to build a new stadium for Bundyokor, Uzbekistan's premier soccer team, it seemed like construction was halted and weeds were growing over the lot. When Zeromax, the Swiss-registered state conglomerate went bust, the stadium seemed to be among a number of projects that lost financing with the declaration of bankruptcy. Last November, it emerged that German investors were left with a €130 million bill after a Zeromax building spree; despite a $469 million trade turnover last year, relations have soured lately with the collapse of such projects.
Bundyokor seemed to fall on hard times, having to let go its highly-paid Brazilian soccer coach Luiz Felipe Scolari last year.
Without explaining exactly how it came about, podrobno.uz says that the government has ordered the stadium to be completed by March 10, 2012, and that it has a budget of 50 million soum, which uznews.net says is $20 million at the black market rate, but much more at the official rate. (Originally, the cost was estimated at $150 million, uznews.net reported). The construction is commissioned by the Bundyokor soccer team, which has contracted Neftegazmontazh, the state oil and gas construction firm to do the work. Other state companies and agencies will be involved as well in completing the 33,000 seat stadium, which is part of a sports complex with nine fields, a club and a hotel.