City stadium Karviná-Ráj is a football stadium in Karviná, Czech Republic. It is the home stadium of MFK Karviná. The stadium holds 4,833 spectators, all of which can be seated.
Initially, the football club T.J. Jäkl Karviná was the main user of the facility from its opening until the merger with FC Karviná in 2003. The resulting MFK Karviná has since been based in the venue, which then had 8,000 seats. In 2009, planning began for the new stadium. A little later, the architecture office COPLAN architecture presented designs for the future venue. The building permit has already been granted. The construction of the football stadium should cost 500 million CZK (approx. 19.7 million euros ), offer 7,000 seats and be completed after 14 to 16 months. To reduce costs, the design was reduced by 1,000 seats, which should lower construction costs to CZK 400 million (around EUR 15.8 million). Since the city could not bear the costs alone, private investors and grants from the state and the EU were sought, but this was unsuccessful. The new construction of the stadium could not be implemented.
In 2014 they made another attempt and new plans for the construction project were presented. To reduce costs, the new tiers, initially planned in concrete, were equipped with tubular steel stands. As a result, the available space was reduced to 4,862 seats. The planning provided for a budget of CZK 270 million (around EUR 10.6 million). Almost half of the first draft.
Extensive work on the municipal stadium began in September 2014. The cinder track surrounding the field has been removed so that the spectators can sit closer to the action. Most of the main stand was retained and a pavilion was added in the southwest corner. Press areas and boxes were built on the upper part of the tier . The old standing stands behind the goals and the opposite side were replaced by the steel stands with seats. The canopy and the seats are made of plastic in green, a club color of MFK Karviná. The cost of 300 million CZK (approx. 11.86 million euros) was shared by the state (110 million CZK), the EU with 80 million CZK and the city contributed the rest.
With the first home game of MFK Karviná in the first division season 2016/17 on August 6, 2016 against FC Zbrojovka Brno , the new Městský stadion Karviná was opened. The 4,522 spectators saw a 1-1 draw. Pavol Jurčo scored the first goal in the 28th minute for MFK.
Long queues and high season ticket sales (some 2,000 as of last week) is what Karvina experienced in recent days, following the promotion of MFK Karviná to the Synot Liga and opening of a brand new stadium.
Well, not brand new. The skeleton of old western main grandstand was left along with its partial roof. Upper rows were replaced by commentator cabins and private boxes, new lower rows were created and on top of that a large 2-floor pavilion was added behind the stand. It provides further skyboxes and a restaurant overlooking the field.
These facilities were part of the plan since 2009, but what never got implemented of the original design is three remaining stands. These were initially planned as twice their eventual size (some 7,000 or more instead of 4,800) and, also notable, nearly twice the budget (CZK 500 million instead of 270-300 million).
Once the more cost-efficient version was approved, construction followed in September 2014, ending literally last week. Of the CZK 300 million spent (some $12.4 million), the European Union donated 80 million, the federal budget added further 110 million and the city covered the remainder.
The result seems to be worth it as MFK Karvina sold out their new home, to some raising the question “why so small”. A few years back it was debated if a larger stadium wouldn’t be more sensible in the long run, even beyond the 10,000 level.
But, to quote deputy mayor Jan Wolf, “It’s better to have a smaller stadium where the stands are crowded and will create an impression of a cauldron”. Which is very much how it could be described last Saturday, when a sell-out crowd enjoyed Karvina tying 1–1 against renowned Zbrojovka Brno.