Local authorities feedback when people complaint that the non-sporting services inside My Dinh national sports stadium in Hanoi will deform the country’s most modern sport venue.
Circus in the stadium
The My Dinh Stadium, built in 2001 for the 22nd SEA Games, is a 247ha sports complex. During phase 1, a 40,000 seat stadium and a water sport hall with three swimming pools were built at a total cost of USD64.5 million.
Phase 2 of the complex was begun after the SEA Games, with a total investment of VND1.2 trillion (USD58 million), however construction was halted due to financial difficulties in 2008 and the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism turned over financial control of its construction to the stadium's management board.
Since then, the board has used all of the land allotted for the sports complex and used it for other purposes, ranging from enclosed football fields, cafes, furniture stores, restaurants, billboards and even areas to store circus equipment. This has raised protests from many of the city's residents who see these things as a blight.
Can Van Nghia, Director of My Dinh National Stadium, claims that the shops and restaurants make for a more attractive area. However most citizens do not seem to hold this opinion.
Nghia went on to say that, with 30 partners operating on stadium grounds, he hopes that their income in 2012 will reach VND35 billion. After six months, the stadium brought in VND19 billion, enough to cover grounds keeping, electricity, water, cleaning, maintenance and staff salary, he said.
When asked why so much of the land was being used for non-sporting purposes, Nghia said, "A sports complex also needs other services such as hotels and restaurants to serve large sporting events."
Vuong Bich Thang, head of the General Department of Sporting and Physical Training agreed with Nghia. "These services will attract more people to come and join sport clubs at the complex. This model has also been applied in developed countries. Moreover, these services are located on idle land or places far from the stadium. They do not 'deform' the My Dinh Stadium."
The My Dinh management board has plans to propose building golf course and five star hotel to serve athletes during big events.
Signboards crop up on idle ground