Stadium

 
stadium

Estadio do Dragao (English: Dragon Stadium) is a football stadium in Porto, Portugal that has an all-seated capacity of 50,948.

The stadium was built as a replacement for FC Porto's old ground, Estadio das Antas (Dolmens' Stadium), and as a venue for EURO 2004. It was completed in 2003, some months after what was expected since in the February 2001, Porto mayor Rui Rio changed the estate distribution, criticizing the plan because it included high-scale housing and shopping for the area and forcing the chairman of FC Porto Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa to halt all building operations, which were only resumed after a consensus was agreed. As of today, the stadium, housing and shopping areas have been built but the city hall has apparently let go of its interest to build the school and public gardens which are part of the plan, causing old arguments about the mayor's decision in 2001 to resurface. As requested by UEFA, the old stadium was demolished, and the space used for the media during the Euro 2004, and in the following months, the construction of the buildings that will form the new urban settlement called "Cidade das Antas" (City of Antas) began.

Designed by Manuel Salgado and built by the Grupo Amorim, it cost €97.755.318, of which €18.430.956 was supported by the Portuguese taxpayers. To support costs, each stand carries one or two sponsor names, edp for the South (Sul) end, tmn and Sapo adsl in the East (Nascente) stand, PT and TV Cabo for the West (Poente) stand and finally Coca-Cola in the North (Norte) Stand. Away fans are placed in the left corner of the North stand, while FC Porto supporter groups (SuperDragões and Colectivo Ultras 95) are at each end, although initially both groups were in the South stand.

The stadium's name is derived from the presence of a dragon on the crest of FC Porto, which is composed of an old football under the old crest of the City of Porto.

It is also the nickname of FC Porto fans. Other alternatives were considered, such as Estádio das Antas (officially, unlike the former stadium) or named after Artur de Sousa Pinga, José Maria Pedroto (former players and managers) or Pinto da Costa (running president for over 20 years).

Inaugurated in 16 November 2003 against FC Barcelona, FC Porto won 2-0 with goals by Derlei and Hugo Almeida. However, due to severe turf problems, FC Porto was forced to play in the Estádio das Antas, until the turf was replanted by mid February 2004.

The stadium further cemented its reputation as an all-round sports and entertainment venue when it secured the Portuguese leg of The Rolling Stones 2006 world tour, fighting off competition from stadia in Lisbon. This represents something of a coup for the city of Porto over the capital.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "F.C. Porto"

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