Laugardalsvöllur (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈlœiːɣartalsˌvœtlʏr̥]) is Iceland's national football stadium and the home venue for the Iceland national football team. It is in Reykjavík with a capacity of 9,800.
|Opened||17 June 1959|
|Renovated||1970, 1997 and 2007|
|Iceland men's national football team|
Iceland women's national football team
Knattspyrnufélagið Fram (temporary)
The idea of building a sport venue in Laugardalur, along with some other entertainment facilities, dates back to 1871. At that time, the population of Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland, was only about 2,000. Laugardalur was also nearly 3 km (1.9 mi) away from residential areas. Little came out of this proposal the next 60 years or so.
In 1943, the town council set up the Laugardalsnefnd committee. Its task was to make proposals and ideas for the area. The committee then delivered the result later, which included building a new football stadium and a new swimming pool.
Construction of the field started in 1949 and lasted until 1952. A year later in 1953, construction of a new stand started. The stand had a capacity of 4,000 when completed.
The first match was played on Laugardalsvöllur in 1957 when the Iceland men's national football team played against Norway, two years before the official opening on 17 June 1959. A few years later, the stand was renovated and expanded, starting from 1965 to 1970.
Under the new stand there was opened a track-and-field facility, which operated until 2007, although there has always been all-weather running track around the pitch (upgraded in 1992). Later the year 1992, floodlights were inaugurated for the match against Greece.
In 1997, another new stand was built against the old stand, across the pitch. Constructions started a year earlier. It has a capacity of 3,500. At the same time, the old stand was relieved by matching it with the new stand by seating capacity.
Big renovation and expansion of the old stand started in 2005. After the completion in 2007, the stadium has a capacity of 9,800. Additional capacity can be added by bringing in two temporary stands seating 1,500 each, giving the stadium a maximum capacity of 15,000 but after the new requirements of FIFA for national football stadiums, this addition method has been forbidden. No major renovations or expansions have occurred since 2007.
The largest attendance for a football match ever seen by Laugardalsvöllur was 20,204 in 2004 in a friendly match between Iceland and Italy. The largest attendance for the venue about 25,000 during a concert in 2007.
The stadium comprises two big stands facing each other. West Stand is the main stand and the larger one. It is the only stand to hold all the facilities needed for the stadium, excluding stadium seating. For the purpose of football matches and other competitions, the stand has 4 changing rooms for players (mainly) and 2 others for referees, which also have the capability of accommodating facility for a doctor or drug test. There are two other rooms for football matches and athletics tournaments administration.
There have been plans by KSÍ to renovate and expand Laugardalsvöllur since 2014, one year after the Iceland men's national football team reached the play-offs for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in 2013. The team's success kept going until they went to UEFA Euro 2016 and reached the quarter-finals. Both Icelandic football fans and KSÍ (the Football Association of Iceland) have been asking Reykjavík city, the current owner of the stadium, for a new stadium because seats have sold out for 7 out of 10 national football team matches in 2013-2015. Despite the attendance, Laugardalsvöllur had an deficit of 3.9 million ISK in 2015, but Reykjavík city then added its contribution of 11 million ISK, leaving an 7 million profit.
Two options are being considered and both include removing the running track and placing stands in its place in addition to moving the pitch closer to the west stand and keeping the west stand in place. One option is an 17,500 capacity stadium with an open roof and heated pitch, costing 7-11 billion ISK. The second option is an 20,000 capacity stadium with an retractable roof over the stadium for the possibility of multi-purpose stadium, that would increase the utilization of seating capacity in the long term. The second option would cost 11-18 billion ISK.
Having an heated pitch is necessary, due to hard winters in Iceland and also because of the new requirements of UEFA, which indicates that matches for some teams in the qualification competition, for the UEFA European Championship, shall also be played in the winter. The grass would then be maintained itself with an automatic irrigation sprinkler system.
Laugardalsvöllur during a Euro 2008 qualifying game
- "Íþróttaleikvangur Reykjavíkur í LaugardalSaga framkvæmdanna" (in Icelandic). 6 November 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
- "Ártöl í sögu knattspyrnunnar á Íslandi 1892 "Knattleikur er t.d. flestra unglinga yndi og mætti tíðka hann miklu meira en gert". www.mbl.is. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
- Rúnarsson, Kristján Jens (1 January 2016). "Stækkun Laugardalsvallar : Er skynsamlegt fyrir Reykjavíkurborg að taka þátt í hugsanlegum breytingum?". hdl:1946/25150. Cite journal requires
- "Þjóðarleikvangur Íslands | Knattspyrnusamband Íslands". www.ksi.is. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
- Tillaga að þjóðarleikvangi. Morgunblaðið, 242. issue (16.10.2014), page 1
- Kristján Jens Rúnarsson. "Stækkun Laugardalsvallar" (PDF). p. 17. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
- Laugardalsvöllur - Ársreikningur samstæðu. Knattspyrnusamband Íslands, page 13. (in Icelandic)
- Nýr Laugardalsvöllur kosti á bilinu 7 tl 18 milljarða. Kjarninn. (2018-04-16).
- "Hótel og háskóli á nýjum Laugardalsvelli?". RÚV. 26 September 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
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