Egypt's Ahly laid the cornerstone for the club's new stadium on the outskirts of Cairo on Saturday, one week after they acquired the necessary permits to start the construction.
Ahly's management announced that the new stadium's capacity will be 50,000 fans and it needs five years to complete buildings on 48,000 square meters. It will also include more facilities like hotels and playgrounds to act as a sports complex.
"Dreams come true after tens of years," Ahly's chairman and football legend Mahmoud El-Khatib told a press conference as he laid the cornerstone of the club's new stadium.
"We managed to acquire the necessary permits to start the construction of a new stadium, with buildings of 30 meters high and we succeeded in signing the deal to build the stadium on 48,000 square meters," he said.
"I am not worries about how to finance the new stadium as the name of Ahly is big, and I am confident that we will receive more offers once we opened the door for the deals," El-Khatib said.
Ahly have used Cairo's International Stadium, which is owned by the state, as their home venue for over six decades, having been forced to abandon a small stadium they built in the early 20th century due to security concerns.
Successive administrations vowed to build a new stadium but nascent plans failed to materialize, with many questioning whether it's financially feasible, but finally Ahly laid the cornerstone on Saturday.
Egypt's Minister of Sports and Youth Ashraf Sobhi attended the ceremony and congratulated Ahly fans and management for the great achievement, affirming the country's support for any successful sports club.
"I congratulate Ahly management for the well planed project and I assert here that we support all the sports organizations," Sobhi said.
"Our main target is to turn the sports into product and we will help all the managements achieve the target," the minister added.
Egypt's Minister of Housing Asem El-Gazzar also attended the event, and stressed that Ahly's new stadium will have positive effect on the surrounding area.
"I want you all to have a current look at the area surrounding Ahly's new stadium and how it is deserted, then after only 10 years let's compare how this project will affect on the all area," El-Gazzar said.
In December 2019, Ahly announced it had secured a 25-year lease for Al-Salam stadium, which they re-named Ahly Stadium. However, the team continued to hold their high-profile matches at the 74,100-seater Cairo Stadium, even though they play behind closed doors.
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