FIFA is likely to withdraw a 20
million Swiss francs ($21.2 million) financing towards the
building of a new stadium in its host city of Zurich because of
plans to include standing areas for fans.
"In principle, FIFA does not support any project which does
not correspond to its philosophy," football's governing body said
in a statement sent to Reuters.
"In respect to the planned stadium construction in Zurich,
that means that if the plans are maintained to reserve some
places for standing fans, FIFA must rethink its commitment to
the promised 20 million Swiss francs.
"FIFA is convinced, that all-seater stadiums guarantee more
comfort and, above all, more safety. Therefore, FIFA argue for
stadiums which exclusively for seated fans."
Zurich has not had a purpose-built football stadium since the
Hardturm, the former home of Grasshoppers Zurich, was closed
The city government is planning to build a new stadium to
open in 2017 which would have a capacity of 16,000 for
international games and 19,000 for domestic games and would be
used by FC Zurich and Grasshoppers.
The total cost is estimated at 150 million Swiss francs.
Both clubs currently stage matches at the Letzigrund
athletics stadium, which was used as one of Switzerland's four
venues when the country co-hosted Euro 2008 with Austria.
Standing fans are banned in all competitions organised by
FIFA and European football's governing body UEFA, including the
World Cup qualifying tournaments, Champions League and European Championships.
In England, standing areas were banned following the
Hillsborough disaster in Sheffield in 1989.
However, standing areas are allowed at domestic games in
Germany where many clubs have removable seats which are taken
out for Bundesliga matches and put back for internationals.
Switzerland also allows standing fans but the country also
has a serious hooligan problem, which many believe is to blame
for the small attendances at local games.
In October, the Grasshoppers-Zurich derby was abandoned
because of a crowd riot.
FIFA said that if the contribution was withdrawn, it could
be used for football development programmes in Switzerland
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