Monday, 27 November 2023
After a series of delays due to bureaucracy and a lack of available finances, the long-awaited Ciudad Deportiva Fundación Málaga, which was first mooted thirteen years ago, has finally opened - or at least partially.
The official opening of the first of three phases comprising this spectacular sports city and academy on the coast in Arraijanal, near Plaza Mayor shopping centre, took place on Monday and was attended by officials from the Junta de Andalucía regional government, Malaga city hall, the Diputación provincial council, LaLiga, as well as Malaga CF coaches, team officials and first-team players.
Attendees toured the new facilities, including the main field, with grandstand, plus two other interconnected fields - all made of natural grass (two were originally going to be artificial).
Once completed, the sports city will boast a total of eight pitches, but during this first phase, the facility will only be used by the first team, prominent youth teams (including Atlético Malagueño) and the women's squad.
While many lower-level teams provisionally used the facility on Monday morning, the first team won't move their operations here just yet as the pitches still need some time to settle before they're in optimal condition.
The younger members of the Malaga CF academy are currently spread across various clubs in the nearby areas and won't be able to fully integrate into the set-up at Arraijanal until the second phase is completed.
This phase, according to Malaga-based company Hermanos Manzano in charge of the project, will begin soon and is likely to be finished by the end of next year. This phase will consist of three additional fields, all with artificial turf.
The construction of this sports city has been held up on multiple occasions, due to a combination of factors. The main one, however, was a gap in the club's finances, not helped by successive relegations since the idea was first proposed.
Construction came to a halt in 2018 due to lack of available funds, much of which was tied up in the sale of land owned by the club at El Viso. Then, with a large portion of this money required to pay off loans, the project had to be downsized and new funding secured before it could be put out to tender again.
Ultimately, it wasn't until funds secured through the agreement between LaLiga and CVC Capital became available that the first phase could restart. This cash injection will also ensure the subsequent phases can go ahead too and a top-class facility can be completed.
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