Tomorrow, on November 15th, the brand new, super-expensive Puskás Arena will be inaugurated with a friendly match between the Hungarian national team and two-time World Champions, Uruguay. The first match at the state-funded, UEFA category 4 stadium that can seat close to 68,000, sold out just hours after the tickets went on sale to the general public.
One Month to Go Until the Opening of Puskás Aréna
Puskás Ferenc Stadium, formerly known as Népstadion (“People’s Stadium”), opened in 1953 and was completely demolished in March 2016 when reconstruction works started. The new stadium’s capacity is 68,000 for football events, while for concerts it can house 80,000 people.
Initially, in 2011, the construction was budgeted for 35 billion HUF (around EUR 112 million); that number rose to approximately 190 billion (EUR 610 million) by now, making it one of the most expensive stadiums in Europe.
At the upcoming Euro 2020, Puskás Aréna, Hungary’s biggest sports infrastructure investment in recent times, is scheduled to host four matches: three in the group stage and one in the round of 16. Hopefully, with the Hungarian team among the contenders.
The inauguration match against Uruguay
The National team has played against Uruguay three times in its history. Besides two ties at friendly games in the 60s, Hungary beat the South American team in the semifinals of the 1954 World Cup. Since Uruguay has one of the strongest national teams in the world, it will not be an easy match for the Hungarians.
Photo via KKBK/MTI
Gates open at 4 pm and the inauguration will begin at 5:30 pm. The Hungary-Uruguay match itself begins at 7pm.
Csaba Horváth, the opposition mayor of Zugló, drew attention to an unpleasant fact about the stadium: “for the visitors of the stadium, there is a VIP car park with only five hundred spaces, which is out of proportion to the 68,000 people the stadium can accommodate. Therefore, we would like to ask everyone to arrive by public transport for the opening and the following match, because the stadium will be hermetically closed from 3 pm to midnight that day.” This means that even the residents will not be able to get in or out of the enclosed area, for which the mayor asks their understanding.
Photo via KKBK/MTI
On Wednesday, organizers warned the visitors on Puskás Arena’s Facebook page that cash payments would not be accepted at the stadium. MLSZ has released a statement saying that they have decided this in order to serve the fans as quickly and smoothly as possible. Spectators can pay three ways: Like music festivals, viewers can pay via a redeemable arena card, contactless credit cards, and mobile phones with mobile payment.
Earlier, it was reported that bags and cameras would not be allowed in the stadium; however, organizers said on the official Facebook page that this is inaccurate information. They said that spectators can bring normal-sized backpacks and cameras to the stadium, but security may not allow larger backpacks suitable to bring in dangerous goods.
After the prestigious opening, a fate-deciding match awaits for the national team
The national team will play its last and crucial match against Wales on away turf next week and a win would guarantee a place in the tournament. Many argue that the timing of the stadium inauguration was not well planned, as the national team has to play two very important and difficult matches in a few days. Anyway, it’s up to the players to show their worth.
featured photo: Puskás Arena Facebook