a gem that costs next to nothing

Among the many beautiful things that Algerians have discovered during the Mediterranean Games, which will be held in Oran since June 25th, is the magnificent Sig Stadium, where the events of the football tournament will be held.

A real gem. With a seating capacity of 20,000, the grandstands are fully covered. Many are no doubt wondering how a small town could benefit from a large sports arena when large cities with continental-sized clubs have none.

Sig is an agricultural commune in the Wilaya of Mascara, about 400 kilometers west of Algiers, 43 kilometers east of Oran.

The 70,000-inhabitant region gave its name to the famous table olive variety “la sigoise”, which brought its reputation and prosperity. With more than 5,000 hectares of olive groves, 200 olive canning plants and a very active industrial area, it is the richest community in the wilaya of Mascara.

Like all cities in Algeria, Sig vibrates for football. His best-known club is Hilal de Sig, which, however, never rose higher than the second division.

Then why equip it with one of the most beautiful stadiums in Algeria? The answer is simple: as beautiful and impressive as it is, the Sig Stadium cost next to nothing compared to other sports facilities delivered or under construction across the country.

According to the Mascara Youth and Sports Directorate, quoted by the official agency APS in March 2021, the infrastructure with its outbuildings, including a replica training field, cost a total of 1.7 billion dinars or the equivalent of 12 million euros.

20,000 fully covered seats, two excellent quality natural grass pitches, parking and all the services that make up a modern stadium, and all for such a modest sum that you’ll think you’re dreaming. And it’s not over yet.

All the work, including laying the turf, was carried out by Algerian firms without delay. The project started in 2014 and was delivered on time.

Expensive and unnecessary gigantism

To give an idea of ​​​​the skill, the Tizi Ouzou Stadium, launched 15 years ago, has already cost 30 or 40 times more money than Sig’s and is still in a state of construction that is unlikely to be delivered sooner again long.

According to various estimates, the 50,000-seat stadium will have cost around 400 million euros after completion, a large part of which was transferred abroad because the work was carried out by Algerian-Spanish, then Algerian-Turkish consortiums.

The same applies to the other two stadiums under construction in Baraki and Douéra (Algiers). Oran’s, built in anticipation of the JM and equipped with 40,000 seats, cost around 220 million euros.

The Sig Stadium was also built for the current Mediterranean Games and if approved by the International Games Committee it means that it meets international standards and is therefore suitable to host Africa Cup of Nations matches or other international competitions.

So why spend hundreds of millions of dollars to create infrastructure that meets international standards when the country can afford it at a lower cost?

The Sig Stadium is irrefutable proof of that. With the spending on the Tizi Ouzou stadium alone, Algeria could equip almost all of its wilayas with nice little stadiums like Sig’s.

Huge and unnecessary spending stemming from several factors: lack of project control, over-billing, and a certain penchant for gigantism.

Algeria, like any other country of its size, requires a single, high-performance stadium for the opening or closing ceremonies of major competitions and the grand finals.

Incidentally, medium-capacity canopies are also trending at some large European clubs, as they are easier to fill and maintain, and therefore more profitable.

Aren’t the crowded stands at Sig Stadium some of the most beautiful images we’ve seen so far in this JM d’Oran 2022?

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