Ilham Aliyev attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the Baku Olympic Stadium

06 june 2011, 15:25

Football in Azerbaijan is turning 100. The most significant of events marking this occasion has been the foundation-laying ceremony for the Baku Olympic Stadium. 

President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva have attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the Baku Olympic Stadium.

Also attending the ceremony were FIFA President Joseph Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini, prominent representatives of the international football community, leaders of national federations, veterans of football and other guests. The ceremony participants warmly welcomed the head of state and his wife.

President Ilham Aliyev was informed that the 65,000-seat Baku Olympic Stadium, to be established on an area of 50 hectares in Sabunchu District, to the north of the road junction outside the Mashadi Azizbayov underground station, will be built in a modern style and occupy a worthy place amongst modern sporting facilities of this type. The stadium will be fully in line with international standards, have multifunctional viewing stands, running tracks and other infrastructure.

It was indicated that the construction of the stadium, covering an area of 120,830 square meters, would be conducted in accordance with the International Building Code (IBC), UEFA and FIFA standards and Azerbaijani construction regulations. The building intended for journalists will cover an area of 2,000 square meters. A 13,847 square meter swimming pool will be built in the vicinity of the stadium and a green area of 81,574 square meters established. The stadium will have 18 gates, 41 elevators and seven car parks for a total of 3,617 automobiles.

It was also indicated that preliminary work on stadium design was launched in 2008. Bidding was opened and proposals submitted by a number of local and foreign companies. The project concept submitted by Turkish TOCA was found the most viable from the standpoint of economic efficiency, modernity, functional benefit and conformity with the city architecture and terms of reference. Therefore, design work was conducted on the basis of the said concept.

The head of state was informed that depending on weather conditions the stadium surroundings and the stands would be covered with a self-cleaning membrane. The area was prepared for the construction by building organizations of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR). Such preliminary work includes the still ongoing landscaping and the driving of underground piles to ensure that the stadium has a reliable foundation. Additionally, conditions of international bidding for the provision of overall construction services are being prepared.

Then a film about the history of world and Azerbaijani football was demonstrated.

The head of state addressed the ceremony participants.

Greeting the ceremony participants, President Ilham Aliyev said:

Dear guests.

Dear ladies and gentlemen.

Dear friends.

It is a very momentous day in the life of our country. We are celebrating the 100th anniversary of football in Azerbaijan. Let me warmly salute all the guests who have come to our country to celebrate this holiday together with us. In particular, I would like to sincerely salute FIFA President Joseph Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini. Every visit of yours gives an impetus to the development of football in Azerbaijan, and it is a great honor for us to see you among our guests.

I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely congratulate you, Mr. Blatter, on being reelected as FIFA President several days ago. Your convincing victory also demonstrates that under your leadership FIFA has covered a long and successful road, as the vast majority of the international world of football has supported your candidacy. I would like to reiterate that under your leadership FIFA has turned into a global organization, an organization pursuing the ideals of friendship, brotherhood, peace and justice.

While celebrating the 100th anniversary of football in Azerbaijan, we are optimistic of the future. I do hope that football will be developing successfully in Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani government is taking necessary measures to develop football. As you may know, a State Program on the development of football has been under way for several years. The national championship arouses a great deal of interest. Specific steps are being taken to promote football in Azerbaijan. Both state bodies and the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan are contributing a lot to the development of football by conducting goal-oriented activities. I am hopeful that these efforts will not remain futile and our footballers will gratify us in international competitions.

The development of football is important for every country. Football is the most popular sport. This is the case in Azerbaijan too. We want our children, youth and juniors to go into football. There are even better conditions for that now. We have commissioned several stadia in the country in recent years. Football pitches are being built. In other words, extensive work is under way in Azerbaijan to popularize football.

We are celebrating the opening of a new stadium in Baku today with the participation of Mr. Blatter and Mr. Platini. We are laying the foundation stone of our country’s biggest and most modern stadium. I do hope that a magnificent football arena, a 65,000-seat modern stadium meeting all international standards will be commissioned here in two to three years. It will be the most magnificent, beautiful, pretty and comfortable stadium not only in Azerbaijan but also in the whole region.

The construction of the stadium shows again that the Azerbaijani government is doing everything in its power to develop football. We will continue working to contribute further to the development of football. Of course, our public and football fans expect good results, great goals and victories from our footballers. This is our legitimate wish. I do hope that as a result of the work done to this date and to be done in the future, especially towards raising a generation of young footballers and proper organization of the selection process, our footballers will gratify us with football victories.

Our international relations in this area are growing. I want to indicate that next year Azerbaijan will play host to the biggest and most prestigious football event in its history. The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup will be held in Azerbaijan. This means tremendous responsibility, and I am hopeful that all relevant bodies will do the preparatory work at the proper level and this championship will be held in Azerbaijan very successfully.

Our international cooperation is at a high level. The Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA) has secured a worthy place amongst the world’s football federations. I believe that this is a very important factor for the development of football. I would like to express my gratitude in particular to the leadership of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) because their support for Azerbaijan is highly important for us. I do hope that our football community will, in its turn, take additional and prudent steps for the development of football.

I would like to reiterate that it is a very remarkable and historic day today. We are celebrating the 100th anniversary of football in Azerbaijan. Of these 100 years, Azerbaijan has been independent for 20 years. At the same time, the foundation-laying for a magnificent stadium is a historic event too.

I would like to sincerely congratulate the entire football community on this holiday again. Let me welcome all the guests to Azerbaijan again, and I think all the fans will join me in saying that we look forward to seeing great victories and successes of our footballers.

Thank you.

XXX

Addressing the ceremony were Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, UEFA President Michel Platini and FIFA President Joseph Blatter.

Then the foundation-laying ceremony was held.

The head of state inserted a metal capsule into a symbolic football.

The President’s son, Heydar Aliyev, scored a goal into a symbolic goal, lowering the football into the foundation.

Then the head of state launched the grouting facility.

President Ilham Aliyev, FIFA President Joseph Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini signed the symbolic football.

Then a picture was taken.

The attending guests thanked President Ilham Aliyev again for his attention and care about the development of sports in Azerbaijan.