By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
CSKA Moscow president Andrey Vatutin said that the club has been pondering a move to another city due to the fact that its current facilities (Alexander Gomelsky USH CSKA – a property of the Russian Ministry of Defense) will be demolished by June for the construction of a new multisport complex.
“Various, including moving to another city,” Vatutin said to Sport Express when asked about the options of the club in light of this development. “I think that you perfectly understand how much it costs to build a modern arena in Moscow from scratch – to find a place, coordinate projects. Even for Norislk Nickel (CSKA’s owner and main sponsor) this is a lot of money, which will be incredibly difficult to return. Now, everything is shaping up in such way that the club and the city may suffer serious losses in its reputation.
“The decision of the Ministry of Defense to urgently demolish USH is a blow to the life of the club and its results,” Vatutin added. USH was constructed in 1979 and has been housing CSKA ever since.
The new and modern compound is planned to be built by the end of 2022, which forces CSKA to look for a new “home” until then. A move to Megasport – used by CSKA for its EuroLeague games – is a possibility but the arena doesn’t fully provide the courts and optimal workspace that the club requires for its day-to-day activities.
“Probably the best solution for us would be a complete relocation to Megasport, but this won’t be possible next summer since there’s no training halls in the arena and the main hall is rented for various events,” Vatutin said. “In theory, we are considering the possibility of working on two or three sites, plus office space. But again, it takes at least two years to create such a project, coordinate, build and fine-tune it. In additon, this will require the full support from the Moscow government. I’m sure that the mayor’s office, in contrast to the Ministry of Defense, understands that leaving a club – which is now the flagship of Russian sports – with such a rich history homeless is, to put it mildly, wrong. CSKA is a national treasure.”