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Inside the Pancho Aréna

Published: Monday 4 August 2014, 16.08CET
UEFA.com visits the remarkable Pancho Aréna in Felcsut, Hungary, to discover the new venue's eye-catching construction and impressive collection of memorabilia.
by Matthew Watson-Broughton
from Felcsut

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Published: Monday 4 August 2014, 16.08CET

Inside the Pancho Aréna

UEFA.com visits the remarkable Pancho Aréna in Felcsut, Hungary, to discover the new venue's eye-catching construction and impressive collection of memorabilia.

The new Pancho Aréna in the small town of Felcsut is a fitting monument to focus on the regeneration of youth football in Hungary, where as ever the ultimate aim is to reach similar heights to the 'Magical Magyars' of the 1950s.

The ground staged four matches at last month's UEFA European Under-19 Championship and its impact is enhanced by several stunning features which mark it out as one of the most unique and impressive stadiums built anywhere in Europe. It was created according to the original designs of world-renowned architect Imre Makovecz in 2008, which were reworked following his death by Tamás Dobrosi in 2011.

"Imre Makovecz's first drafts originate from 2008 and although these were completely reworked, they naturally continued in his spirit," said Dobrosi. "The entire building is the spiritual legacy of Makovecz. I see a similarity, in that here at the academy they don't simply care for the legacy and memory of Ferenc Puskás but also give an opportunity to youngsters to reach these heights."

The most striking aspect of the 4,200-capacity venue, which mainly serves youth football but also acts as home to Hungarian top-tier club Puskás Akadémia FC, is the magnificent wooden roofing structure above the tribunes. The feature is characteristic of Mackovecz's work and was therefore naturally included in a construction based on his plans.

Furthermore, 2,000 cubic metres of wooden material was layered and glued for use in a roof which is covered with slate and takes up a huge 12,000 square metres – the largest natural slate-covered roof in the country not covering a monument-style building. Indeed, 16,500 square metres are spanned by the building's foundations, more than twice the area of the pitch. A total of 135,000m of cable and 100 fuse boxes keep the stadium electrics in order while 31km of piping has been installed under the pitch for heating.

Of more general interest to fans is the plentiful Puskás memorabilia on display – including a Real Madrid CF shirt worn by the great man. There are also a large number of souvenirs from Hungary's famous wins against England in 1953 and 1954, amid newspaper cuttings, match programmes and plentiful trophies.

Since its inauguration in April, the stadium has hosted several notable fixtures, including the final of the Under-17 Puskás Cup between Real Madrid and Puskás Akadémia, an U19 international friendly between Hungary and Turkey, and the 17th Football World Cup for Lawyers. At the U19 finals, it was the setting for three group games and the Portugal-Serbia semi-final.

Last updated: 05/08/14 11.20CET

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