Whenever new and exciting sporting events are just around the corner, you are sure to find a brand spanking new stadium to celebrate the occasion. Many of these venues become iconic landmarks of the city that they represent but not all do. There are some that fall dramatically by the wayside once the pomp and circumstance is over. Instead, the venue remains unused and forgotten about looking like a shadow of its former self. This can happen for any number of reasons be it economic, political or cultural. But just what are some of the top football stadiums that have been abandoned?
6 abandoned football stadiums which you’d forgetten
Arena Da Amazonia (Manaus, Brazil)
You would think that any football stadium in Brazil would be guaranteed to be the centre of attention lies but that wasn’t the case in Manaus. Built as a new venue for the 2014 World Cup, the Arena Da Amazonia shined as a beacon for city set in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Yet, once the tournament ended, the stadium fell silent.
With the city not having any major football teams, the 44,000 seater stadiums could barely attract audiences rising into four figures. Instead, the stadium has laid fairly dormant for several years barring when it was used to host some matches for the 2016 Olympics. A real waste of a spectacular modern venue that could have turned the city into a sporting hub for the region.
Estadio Algarve (Faro, Portugal)
Being Portugal’s tourist hub and situated in a thriving area, it seemed natural to think that the Estadio Algarve would be a great place for a stadium. Except, it was the exact opposite. Not falling into any major city, few clubs were keen to call the stadium home and it is now one of the football stadiums which is largely abandoned.
There was some brief interest from lower league sides in Portugal. However, with a capacity of 30,000, the stadium was too large for these to deem it a viable option. Instead, this Euro 2004 venue sits relatively inactive, hosting occasional international matches for Portugal and Gibraltar when they deem it necessary.
Darlington Arena (Darlington, England)
Sometimes, money makes people do crazy things. For a physical reminder of this, look no further than The Darlington Arena in Northern England. Built by then-Darlington owner George Reynolds in 2003, the stadium was to signify Darlington’s push up the middle tiers of English football. However, Reynolds would be declared bankrupt and arrested on fraud and laundering charges just one year later.
This sent Darlington into freefall seeing the club fall out of the English Football League by the end of the decade. The club abandoned the stadium just three years later as they virtually folded under a massive rebrand. The stadium’s survival only remained thanks to it being sold to the town’s rugby union club who use it for their own matches in England’s second tier. It’s a reminder to all clubs to keep your goals realistic.
Donbass Arena (Donetsk, Ukraine)
In the early 2010’s, the newly built Donbass Arena in Ukraine was a symbol of how far Shakhtar Donetsk had grown in recent years. The club was a juggernaut in domestic football and one of the top sides in Europe and boasted a stadium to match that success. The venue was one of the primary venues of Euro 2012 as well hosting several key matches. However, everything would change when the civil war in the region took a stranglehold on Ukraine’s second largest city.
Since then, the stadium was left abandoned as Shakhtar were forced to move to other cities to play their matches. Nowadays, the stadium has been left to rot as Donetsk still remains the epicentre of the country’s civil war. The FIFA series still provides a slight reminder as to what the stadium should be like if politics and war didn’t get in the way of what was a world-class stadium but otherwise it has to be considered as one of our abandoned football stadiums.
Estadio Lluis Companys (Barcelona, Spain)
The Olympics has left some stadiums as iconic landmarks of their city whilst others have been temporary showpieces. The Estadio Lluis Companys represents the latter as it was specially renovated for the 1992 Olympics having been left dormant for several previous decades. After that, it was given life as the home of La Liga side Espanyol for almost two decades before they moved to a new stadium in 2017.
Since then, the former Olympic mainstay has sat dormant with several local sides using it for larger matches as well as Spain’s rugby union team for some home games. However, given how busy many other stadiums are on a weekly basis, the 60,000 seater stadium is unlikely to be a major venue anytime in the near future.
Olympiastadion (Munich, Germany)
With its large net-like roof and dramatic look, the Olympiastadion in Munich was one of Europe’s prominent stadiums in the 20th century and is the final entry on our list of abandoned football stadiums. After thriving as the centrepiece of the 1972 OIympics, the stadium continued to thrive as the home of Bayern Munich and the German national side. There were still some legendary moments to be had in the 21st century such as England’s 5-1 triumph against Germany in 2001 but everything changed in 2006.
The completion of the Allianz Arena saw the stadium abandoned by Bayern as they moved to a brand new stadium fit for the modern era. Since then, the Olympiastadion has laid dormant with only music festivals and occasional sporting showpieces visiting the venue. It has been a quiet end to one of football’s iconic venues of the past 100 years.
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