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April 23, 2021

National Arena, topic of row between interim Bucharest Mayor and Deputy PM

The war between the Bucharest City Hall and the Public Administration and Regional Development Ministry (MDRAP), a war centred on the National Arena, is continuing. A MDRAP communiqué accuses Mayor Razvan Sava of manipulating. The mayor reacted harshly, accusing Deputy Prime Minister Vasile Dincu of lying and manipulating. “Another piece of evidence that Mr. Dincu is lying and manipulating. Below you can see an address from IGSU [General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations], telling me clearly that I need a consent that would allow me to obtain the fire safety permit,” Razvan Sava wrote on Facebook.


Razvan Sava: “At this moment, Romanian law basically prevents me from opening the stadium”


Moreover, Bucharest’s interim mayor claims that MDRAP, led by Vasile Dincu, is forcing him to break the law by opening the National Arena stadium without taking into account the latest analysis carried out by an independent laboratory in Italy.

“Deputy Prime Minister Dincu, through the communiqué you issued today you have just confirmed what I was saying the other days: according to the legislation but also the tests carried out in Romania, the material from which the National Arena’s roof is built is Grade C, which means IGSU cannot issue the fire safety permit because in case of fire the material will turn into “fire droplets.” On February 18 we met at the Ministry together with [Interior] Minister Toba and IGSU representatives – I gloss over the fact that back then you did not inform us about the release of the consent based on the tests carried out in Romania – but I notice you do not want to take into account the tests carried out in Italy, at an EU-certified lab, which show that the material is Grade B, which would practically allow the National Arena to receive the necessary approval. This test was submitted on February 19 to the Ministry you are heading. I take this opportunity to reiterate the fact that we are waiting for the necessary consent based on the latest test results filed, by March 14, as you yourself are saying. If these results are disregarded, if the Italian experts’ point of view is not good and the MDRAT’s Standing Technical Council for Constructions decides that only the tests of the Romanian institute are the one that can be taken into account, then we have no other solution but to change the current roof in order to open the stadium. (…) At this moment, the Romanian law prevents me from opening the stadium. My obligation is not to endanger citizens, assets and the environment. (…) I take this opportunity to let Bucharesters know that if the tests carried out at the Italian lab are not taken into account I will discuss the issue with constructor Max Boegl and, in the shortest of time, I will replace the roof membrane (the material that covers the roof) in order to be able to obtain the fire safety permit and reopen the National Arena,” he wrote on Facebook.

The dispute over the National Arena, which was inaugurated on 6 September 2011 and was closed on 6 November 2015 after the Colectiv nightclub fire, started after interim Bucharest Mayor Razvan Sava announced on Friday that the stadium could be opened by March 21 at the latest, provided the Development Ministry releases its consent, otherwise other solutions will be sought.

The mayor went on to suggest that “maybe Mr. Dincu does not know the law, which clearly says that we need that technical consent of the Development Ministry in order to thus obtain the permit from ISU too.”

In his turn, Deputy Premier Vasile Dincu stated that Bucharest’s interim mayor Razvan Sava wanted “to be a statue of legality” and to show that “the previous mayor did not do the right thing” for the National Arena, and added that all conditions are met for the Romania vs. Spain game to take place in Bucharest on March 27, the only problem being “the city hall’s acceptance.”

He said that Bucharest’s interim mayor used the National Arena situation for electoral purposes, in order to prove that “he fully respects the law.”


Development Ministry asks Mayor “to publicly state what the solution is”


Vasile Dincu, Deputy Prime Minister and Regional Development Minister, accuses Bucharest Mayor Razvan Sava of misinforming the public in what concerns the National Arena.

“The consent for the Duraskin material was issued by MDRAP on February 16, and on March 4 the modification of the consent was requested. The legislation in force stipulates the possibility to establish alternative measures that would ensure fire safety levels are met,” a MDRAP communiqué shows.

“The Public Administration and Regional Development Ministry considers that Bucharest Mayor Razvan Sava misinformed public opinion on the National Arena topic: as we showed below, the paperwork for modifying the technical consent issued on February 16 was filed only on March 4,” the communiqué reads.

Moreover, MDRAP is asking the mayor to present his solutions for the reopening of the National Arena: “In case the Bucharest Mayor has a different solution in order to reopen the National Arena to public competitions and events, the Public Administration and Regional Development Ministry is asking the Mayor to publicly state what the solution is and why he has not sent his solutions to the relevant institutions until now.”


UEFA warns: Romania could lose right to host EURO 2020 games


While Romanian authorities are locked into a full-blown scandal over the issue, UEFA is reacting. Thus, the European world of football’s supreme body is worried with what is happening to Romania’s largest stadium, selected to host European Championships games in 2020. Since a friendly game against Spain will be played in a different city as a result of the fact that the National Arena was closed for an unlimited period of time, since in IGSU’s opinion it does not respect fire safety norms, UEFA is warning Romania: solve the problem and reopen the National Arena or lose the right to host EURO 2020 games!

“Embarrassing, ridiculous what is happening to the National Arena! ISU is making a mockery with ridiculous pretentions. God forgive me, but to take a stadium for a nightclub is a big mistake. For four years, there were millions of fans on the National Arena, fans that should now sue ISU, the City Hall, FRF, LPF or who else, for endangering them, right? I hope the hosting of EURO 2020 games will not be taken away from us, it would be a great shame for the efforts made by our leadership, from FRF to Romania’s Government,” Ionut Popescu, head of UEFA’s Technical Commission, stated for ziuanews.ro.

Romanian Football Federation (FRF) President Razvan Burleanu admitted that the body he leads has a “deadline” from UEFA.

“By the summer of 2017 we have to let them know whether we will change anything at the stadium or not, in view of EURO 2020. However, now we do not know whether the City Hall wants to change this roof or not, we don’t know what will happen to the stadium, when it will reopen. If we do not solve this by next year then we will lose the right to host EURO games, this is clear,” Burleanu stated according to the aforementioned source.

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