|Location||Sheshi Ruzhdi Bizhuta 1, 3001 Elbasan, Albania|
|Coordinates||41°06′57.15″N 20°05′31.17″E / 41.1158750°N 20.0919917°ECoordinates: 41°06′57.15″N 20°05′31.17″E / 41.1158750°N 20.0919917°E|
|Record attendance||12.800 Albania vs. Denmark (11/10/2014, Euro 2016)|
|Field size||105 m × 68 m (344 ft × 223 ft)|
|Albania national football team (2014–present)|
Elbasan Arena (Albanian: Elbasan Arena, formerly known as Ruzhdi Bizhuta) is a multi-purpose stadium in Elbasan, Albania. The stadium was completed in 1967 and has been the home ground of KF Elbasani ever since. The stadium was under reconstruction and was officially inaugurated on 8 October 2014 in time for the match against Denmark, valid for the qualifiers of UEFA Euro 2016, with total capacity of 12,800, making it the 3rd largest in Albania, after the Air Albania Stadium in Tirana.
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Elbasan Arena first opened in 1967 under the name of Ruzhdi Bizhuta Stadion who was one of KF Elbasani’s most famous players. Constructed in the 1960s, the ground was built to replace the club’s former ground which had slowly become a set of outdated facilities.
For the majority of Ruzhdi Bizhuta’s history, the stadium has been used exclusively by KF Elbasani but in January 2014 it was announced that the ground would host Albania’s qualification matches of Euro 2016. This decision was taken by the Albanian Football Federation in order to allow the usual national stadium Qemal Stafa to undergo extensive renovation work.
Before Elbasan Arena could host the matches however it would have to undergo refurbishment itself, and in total over €5.5 million invested into the stadium. Work to bring up the stadium to UEFA’s required standards began in February 2014, and finished 7 months later in October.
Numerous improvements were made to the stadium including the installation of new floodlights, 12,500 new plastic seats, new changing rooms, executive seating areas, new scoreboards, and to top it all of a brand new playing surface was laid.
The stadium then reopened on 8 October when Albania hosted Denmark in their second qualification match of the campaign. Played out in front of a sell-out crowd of 12,800 – the record attendance to date, Albania earned a 1-1 draw against their more favoured opposition.
The opening ceremony of the stadium was held on 11 October 2014, with a historical exhibition match against Denmark. Playing for the first time at the recently refurbished Elbasan Arena, the hosts grabbed a 38th-minute lead through Ermir Lenjani's deflected strike but Denmark substitute Lasse Vibe slotted home an 81st-minute equaliser as the Group I rivals went joint-top.
|Ermir Lenjani 38'||Lasse Vibe 81'|
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Source: "Elbasan Arena", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, August 23rd), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elbasan_Arena.
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- ^ a b "Elbasan Arena - Albania". Football Tripper. 8 August 2015.
- ^ "Albania-Denmark | European Qualifiers 2016". Union of European Football Associations.
- ^ "Elbasan Arena - Stadiumi Ruzhdi Bizhuta, Elbasan | ACP". Albanian Construction Portal.
- ^ "Shqipëri- Danimarkë, ndeshja e parë në "Elbasan Arena". Ja çmimi i biletave".
- ^ "Elbasan Arena, të mërkurën inagurimi". Albanian Football Association. Archived from the original on 16 December 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- Articles containing Albanian-language text
- Buildings and structures in Elbasan
- Commons link is defined as the pagename
- Coordinates on Wikidata
- Football venues in Albania
- Infobox mapframe without OSM relation ID on Wikidata
- KF Elbasani
- Pages using the Kartographer extension
- Sport in Elbasan
- Sports venues completed in 1967
- Use dmy dates from September 2017
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