Beşiktaş JK Vodafone Arena is officially opened!

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Updated: April 10, 2016

The Black Eagle’s new home Vodafone Arena was inaugurated by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Beşiktaş JK Chairman Fikret Orman and Board Members this afternoon. The opening ceremony, which received wide media coverage and attended by the celebrities from the Turkish business, political and sports world,  included speeches, a video show, tour of the stadium and ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the occasion. Beşiktaş will play their first-ever game in the Vodafone Arena tomorrow night against the visitors Bursaspor.

Opening-Necip

Vice-captain Necip Uysal dressed in style for the stadium inauguration.

The Beşiktaş squad was represented by head coach Şenol Güneş, captain Tolga Zengin and vice-captain Necip Uysal, The ceremony was attended by many Turkish football greats and Beşiktaş legends.

Beşiktaş club president Fikret Orman, visually excited, thanked the sponsors, including head sponsor Vodafone, and proudly introduced Turkey’s first “smart” stadium. Which he stated the club paid “completely out of own pocket“.

“Aside from all our major sponsorships, which we have acquired over the past few years to fund the building of our new stadium, we have also injected a total of around € 14 million of the club’s own money in to the project.”

Beşiktaş legends Mehmet Özdilek and Gordon Milne both attended the ceremony.

Beşiktaş legends Mehmet Özdilek and Gordon Milne both attended the ceremony.

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan had the following to say: “I congratulate the Beşiktaş fans for their patience, they deserve such a great stadium for sticking with the club through good and bad days. As goverment we contributed 50 million Turkish lira to the project.”. Former prime minister Abdullah Gül, a well known Beşiktaş fan, also attended the ceremony.

Beşiktaş played their last ever match at the Inönü stadium 29 months ago on the 11th of May 2013 (3-0 win vs. Gençlerbirligi), tomorow on April 11th 2016 they will play their first ever match at the Vodafone Arena.

Gordon Milne and Bern Schuster, both former coahces fot he Black Eagles.

Gordon Milne and Bern Schuster, both former coahces fot he Black Eagles.

Aside from being the first ever “smart” stadium in Turkey, Vodafone Arena is also the only football stadium in Turkey which has a hybrid grass pitch. Hybrid grass is real grass mixed in with artificial grass, it is of much better quality than regular grass and is expected to be the norm for football pitches in the coming years. The team has been training on a hybrid pitch since the Nevzat Demir training facilities got renovated this past summer.

Beşiktaş’ çArşi group fans were not permitted in the stadium, out of fear that they would chant anti-Erdogan and anti-AKP slurs. A controversial decision by the club’s leadership which has been heavily critisized on social media by fans. Fortunately the loyal fan group will be present tomorow during the stadium’s opening match against Bursaspor, the question is whether they will protest being excluded to today’s ceremonty or whether they will focus on leading their team victory as they have done so many times in the past.

Tomorow will be a historic day with hopefully a first victory in our new home, with  only 7 more matches to go Beşiktaş are in their most promising position in the title race since the 2008-2009 season. With 3 more home games remaining against Bursaspor, Osmanlispor and Kayserispor, the home matches will hopefully give the Black Eagles a giant boost to finish the season on top and clinch their 14th Süper Lig championship title.

 

Her zaman, her yerde EN BÜYÜK KARTAL!

 

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Kaan Bayazit

Editor-in-chief at Beşiktaş International
Freelance sports writer specialized in Turkish football and Beşiktaş. Co-host of the Black Eagles podcast. Frequently featured in World Soccer Digest Japan and many other international media outlets. Following Turkish football for close to two decades. Proud father to Aedin.
Kaan Bayazit
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