Report on preparations for building national football stadium, international-level swimming pool in Minsk

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Preparations for building the national football stadium and an international-level swimming pool in Minsk were discussed at the meeting held by Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko on 6 August. It is planned that these facilities will be erected using China’s gratuitous technical and economic aid.

The meeting focused on the draft decrees concerning the construction of the stadium and the swimming pool. “During my latest visit to China Xi Jinping demonstrated the architectural models of these facilities to all of us. I want to stress that the construction of such sports facilities in Minsk in cooperation with China is unprecedented and should be an example for other projects which will be implemented in the future,” the head of state said.

In his words, plans to build such sports facilities were made long ago. “Of course, it is expensive. Of course, it is not easy to find such money and I think that private companies will not embark on such projects. You know how we use budget money. Some time ago I asked Xi Jinping to help us build these facilities,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The President added that the Belarusian side also approached other countries apart from China. “They did not have money or did not want to do it. The People’s Republic of China and its leader responded.”

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, it is very important to create all necessary conditions to build the swimming pool and the stadium in compliance with international standards as soon as possible.

“I asked to prepare draft decrees with this in focus. We will use gratuitous aid, so there should be no bureaucratic delays. They will build this facility. Of course, they will use our materials, our people will work there. There should not be any ambiguous standards from the Soviet times. I have already warned the minister, the prime minister that we need European standards. We can keep our standards if we know for sure that they are as good as international ones. We will erect these sports facilities in compliance with international standards,” the President said.

“The Chinese side is ready to launch the construction in H1 2020,” the Belarusian leader said addressing Deputy Head of the Belarus President Administration Nikolai Snopkov. “We must fulfill all agreements with the Chinese side.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko asked about the preparation of construction sites. “We must prepare the construction sites where the Chinese side will build these facilities. I know that there are certain problems with soils, especially in the area where the swimming pool will be built, some issues (we need to address them) regarding the location of the football stadium,” the head of state noted.

According to the President, it is inadmissible to cut too many trees. “I understand that there are many old trees and we need to replace them. If we cut 10-20 trees, we should plant trees in other places. The procedure has been determined,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The President also expressed doubts that the National Olympic Training Center for Water Sports and the National Olympic Stadium Dinamo should be in charge of these construction projects. “I want to know why it is their responsibility. Maybe, ministers and other high-ranking executives just want to shift responsibility. Will the Dinamo Stadium cope with the task to monitor the construction of the national football stadium? Will the water sports center cope with the task to monitor the construction of the international-level swimming pool? Will they manage to ensure engineering, technical and legal monitoring at the highest level?” the Belarusian leader wondered.

The head of state said that the swimming pool and the stadium will be built by 2023. “It is round the corner. And today we must start thinking about hosting high-profile international sports competitions there. By the way, it will stimulate builders and all executives to finish the construction on time,” he said.

“We will build the stadium and the swimming pool. We need them,” the President stressed. “Our state needs such national facilities.”

In this context, Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that football is a very popular sport in Belarus and worldwide. “We need a football stadium where the national team will compete, where our best football clubs will play, where international matches will be held,” the head of state believes.

“We also have a good swimming school. And we need good training conditions,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“I am going to discuss the prospects of our athletes in swimming and football with specialized ministers and representatives of sports organizations next time,” the head of state concluded.