The new beautiful, gold-capped Sammy Ofer Stadium offers an impressive entrance into the city. The ambitious project, which took 3 years to complete is Israel’s finest sporting facility and has brought a lot of pride for Haifa’s citizens.
The newly erected Sammy Ofer Stadium has quickly become a striking new landmark at the southern gateway to the city. The ambitious project, which took 3 years of construction and more than 20 years of dreaming has become the talk of the town and in many ways the talk of the country, in as far as football fans go. The stadium is also set to invigorate the southern entrance of the city as is evidenced by the massive residential construction to its east.
The new international stadium is named after the recently deceased businessman and philanthropist Sammy Ofer who contributed most of the money for its construction. The stadium replaces the existing Kiryat Eliezer Stadium which serviced the city’s two major football teams for the past 30 years.
The Haifa Economic Corporation via its subsidiary company, the International Haifa Stadium Co., Ltd., in partnership with the Municipality of Haifa was the catalysts behind the project and were instrumental in securing the financing as well as cutting through all of the red tape. The initiative is very much in tune with the re-branding of the city as the new Sports capital of the country.
According to Jeremy Fisher of KSS Architects, who developed the stadium in partnership with local design firm Mansfeld Kehat “the design concept combines the key stadium elements of seating bowl, roof and cladding envelope to form a single volume evoking the idea of a unique shimmering metallic object sitting on a simple plinth against the rugged Mount Carmel backdrop”.
The stadium’s magnificent golden roof is actually comprised of 31 separate sheaths laid over v-shaped pillars that make for the stadium’s foundations. The stadium is the only UEFA 4-star approved facility in the country and boasts all the bells and whistles you would expect from such a world-class facility such as 2 12-ton screens, state-of-the-art security, 415 bathrooms and 330 urinals as well a 500+ VIP booths.
Outside the stadium presides a striking monument that was donated by the city of Shanghai in celebration of 20 years of the normalization of diplomatic relationships. The statue is titled the “International Statue of Peace” and was created by Yu Yuan, one of China’s leading sculptors..
According to Mayor Yona Yahav, “The city of Haifa has made a bold statement and ‘Sammy’ signifies the city’s commitment to excellence.”
As home to local sides FC Maccabi Haifa and FC Hapoel, the stadium has understandably caused much of a stir and both the players and fans are proud to call it home.
FC Maccabi Haifa initiated the stadium with an emphatic 4-2 victory over FC Sachnin in front of a sold-out stadium of 30,800 fans.