Poznań in Poland is rapdily making a name for itself as the city of sport. Here's how...
Poznań is building a strong position as a city that “stands for sport”. The activities undertaken are aimed at strengthening the role of Poznań as a leading Polish sports centre, establishing its status as an international sports hub, and at the same time promoting physical activity and a healthy lifestyle among its residents. While implementing these objectives, the City is making increased efforts to attract international sports events, and it also leverages funds for the further development of its sports and recreational infrastructure.
Poznan will be one of the main hosts of the UEFA European Soccer Championships in Summer 2012.
The organisation of large events is a chance to obtain significant external funding for the modernisation of the existing, and the construction of new, sports facilities and city infrastructure. Investments in this area, for which the city has leveraged external co-financing, include the expansion of the City Stadium, the renovation of the MALTA Regatta Track, and the building of a complex of Olympic swimming pools as part of the Termy Maltański sports and recreation centre on Malta Lake. All these places, after the events end, will serve not only local people – from Poznań and the Wielkopolska region – but also those who visit the city as tourists.
The initiatives continuously undertaken for many years have brought concrete results. Poznań has been the organiser of many prestigious sports events with international coverage. They include:
- World Canoeing Championships – 2010
- European Canoeing Championships – 2006
- World Veteran Canoeing Championships – 2010
- World University Canoeing Championships – 2010
- World Rowing Championships – 2009
- World Veteran Rowing Championships – 2011
- European Rowing Championships – 2007
- World Dragon Boat Championships – 2008
- European Under-19 Football Championship – 2006
- European Veterans Athletics Championships – 2006
- The Poznań Marathon – an annual event, the largest of its type in Poland
- International Show Jumping Competition, CSIO – an annual event
- The “Porsche Open” Tennis Tournament – an annual event
- European Basketball Championship – 2009
- International Integrated Swimming Competition, “Europe without Barriers” – 2011
On the occasion of the EURO 2012 UEFA European Football Championship a number of projects are being implemented including:
- the expansion of the City Stadium to the Elite class,
- the expansion of Poznań Ławica Airport which will double its capacity (the costs amounting to nearly €100 mn),
- the construction of an Integrated Transportation Centre combining urban and railway transport (project cost – €160 mn),
- the renovation of the public transport infrastructure in connection with EURO 2012 (project cost – nearly €50 mn),
- the extension of the Poznań Fast Tram lines,
- the replacement of the tram fleet with low-floor, environmentally-friendly cars,
- the expansion and modernisation of roads and streets in the city (project cost – €50 mn).
Other key amenities have been developed to support the increased visitors that the city will receive. These include the Ostrów Tumski Interactive History Centre and an Archaeological Reserve on Ostrów Tumski Island, facilities that will present the rich, 1000-year history and traditions of Poznań and the Polish State.
The sport of Poznań is associated with many disciplines and clubs, most of all with the “Lech” Sports Club, being the most popular and the largest football club in The Polish League. The modernised City Stadium, where “Lech” plays, has in recent years been the arena of the most important games of the club in the European cups. Over many years a strong community of Poznanians interested in sports and football has emerged, who, together with all the residents of Poznań, await their foreign guests, in order to jointly share the passion of the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship games.
The experience gained by Poznań in the implementation of these projects proves the usefulness of the policy adopted by the authorities under the slogan “Poznań stands for sport”. It allows us to make plans for even more sports competitions and events that both promote the city internationally and promote physical activity and recreation among its residents increasing the quality of life.
The selection of the City of Poznań by UEFA as a host of the EURO 2012 tournament is a clear indication that Poznań not only has all the predispositions to organise large, prestigious sports events, but it is also an attractive place to locate one’s business and invest.
Find out more about the relationship between sports and urban development in this month’s Urban Intelligence newsletter, with new exclusive content from cities expert and blogger, Greg Clark.