Georgian Rugby’s stadium hurdles

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    The Boris Paichadze stadium, Tbilisi’s Soviet-era giant, has seen Georgia and Russia’s post-Independence rugby rivalry blossom with memorable clashes played before sold out crowds.

    Georgia’s 2002 victory is seared into the minds of many fans. The game was won in dramatic fashion as the home team earned a maiden Rugby World Cup berth while denying Russia.

    Weeks ahead of the fixture’s anticipated return to Georgian soil for the first time in five years, the future of rugby at the venue is in doubt.

    In the midst of renovations aimed at bringing the ground up to elite European football standards, an exclusive 49-year lease granted by Tbilisi City Hall to long-time tenants FC Dinamo means it is seldom likely to be available once works are complete.

    Lokomotiv Stadium, the country’s only other major venue, half the size at 25000 seats, will serve as a temporary home for national teams and is in line to host Russia March 17.

    Georgia have encountered additional problems ahead of their weekend European Nations Cup clash with Portugal. Football officials, fearing pitch damage ahead of a midweek friendly with Albania, have forced a further shift.

    The site will be the tiny Avchala complex, built for last year’s IRB Junior World Trophy, leaving thousands of Georgian rugby fans frustrated with only 2000 tickets available at double the price.

    While matches in the November international window are thought to be booked for the Lokomotiv Stadium, Georgia will almost certainly be forced to explore alternatives for the 2013 European Nations Cup season with three home dates scheduled.

    A football ground in Georgia’s second city of Kutaisi has been mooted as a possibility, though there is some question as to whether it meets requirements.

    The construction of a rugby only stadium capable of accommodating Georgia’s legion of fans remains a remote possibility with access to elite revenue generating competitions proving evasive for the isolated easterners.

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    The Crowd Says (5)

    • February 25th 2012 @ 9:33am
      Emric said | February 25th 2012 @ 9:33am | ! Report

      Georgian Rugby needs their own stadium… Perhaps the roar should take up a collection as a starting point to help resolve this problem in future?

      I’d donate

    • February 26th 2012 @ 8:42am
      kingplaymaker said | February 26th 2012 @ 8:42am | ! Report

      Poor old Georgia who are good enough to be in the Six nations.

      • February 26th 2012 @ 8:58am
        Viscount Crouchback said | February 26th 2012 @ 8:58am | ! Report

        Have they ever even beaten a Six Nations team?

    • Roar Rookie

      February 26th 2012 @ 12:14pm
      Sharminator said | February 26th 2012 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

      “The construction of a rugby only stadium capable of accommodating Georgia’s legion of fans remains a remote possibility with access to elite revenue generating competitions proving evasive for the isolated easterners.”

      The only “elite” revenue generating competition for national sides in Europe is the Six Nations but Georgia does not has never beaten a Six Nations side so I dont think they have any case for inclusion in a 7 nations or for replacing a current six nations side,.

      They currently play in the European Nations Cup Division 1 … the so called Six Nations B … it is the right level for them as they have close games with Romania, Russia and Portugal.

      The other point is that to contruct a national rugby specific stadium .. Georgia need to have and raise the money themself .. they do not have domestic professional rugby, the majority of the best Georgian players play in France, and there are only 3 divisions and 18 senior clubs in the country.

      A large domestic rugby stadium does not seem necessary or wise monetarily. Renting soccer staidums for national games, while at times presenting difficulties, seems a better option.

    • February 26th 2012 @ 12:53pm
      27incher said | February 26th 2012 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

      Georgia is one fo the big up and comers in world rugby, and is likely to get a spot in the six nations tournament sooner or later.
      One problem Georgian rugby might come across if they build this stadium is a decline in rugby.

      Expansion is always good in sport but the problem Georgia will face is most of their players are over 30 and in 3 or 4 years when all of these players have retired or been dropped, Georgia will have to rebuild, and it’s always a good idea to build the stadium beofre the rebuilding phase when the team will lose to teams it usually beats such as Spain and Russia.

      For the World Cup last year, Georgia chose just 3 players who were under 25 compared to champions New Zealand who were criticised for choosing a team that was too old for the World Cup who had 6 players under 25.

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