Web Portal on Human Rights in Georgia

Gori Football Stadium Restituted to Its Former Owner

Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli 

On April 25, based on the decision of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia, Gori Tengiz Burjanadze Football Stadium was restituted to its former owners Mikheil Lursmanashvili and his business partners.  

According to the investigative body, in 2010, the property was illegally seized from the owner and senior officials of the previous government key actors of the process. 

“As a result of psychological oppression, the company had to assign the Tengiz Burjanadze Stadium to the Gori municipal administration,” the prosecutor Emzar Gagnidze said.

Vakhtang Jokhadze recalled the facts from 2010, when he became victim of oppression during the governance of the United National Movement. The problems started with his detention and ended with “presenting” the stadium to the state as a gift.

“I was arrested because of alleged fake invoice. As I learned later, they made a deal with my partners and in exchange of my freedom they demanded them to give up the stadium in favor of the state,” Vakhtang Jokhadze said.

According to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office, by now they have solved 60 facts of forced seizure of properties. It is the second fact in Gori, when the former owners restituted their properties seized by the state. The first of them was Gori swimming pool, which was restituted to its former owner Gia Giguashvili several months ago.

Representatives of the Gori self-government council and administration do not argue that the stadium was forcibly seized from the owners during the previous government but they argue about another issue – the price of the football stadium. After the stadium became state property, the state budget spent several million GEL on its rehabilitation.
Davit Razmadze, member of the Gori City Council: “After the stadium was assigned to the state, 11 million GEL was spent on its rehabilitation. Naturally, current price of the stadium is not equivalent to that-time condition, when it had private owners.” 

If the stadium was restituted, the Gori City Mayor Zurab Jirkvelishvili offered the former owners to pay compensation from the state budget to reimburse the damage.

In summer of 2017 Gori will host the Europe Youth Football Championship, whose selection matches were held in the Tengiz Burjanadze Stadium. The repair works have already started in the stadium, which will cost 1 350 000 GEL in total including the 560 000 GEL from the Gori district budget. Based on the April 21, 2017 Decree # 779 of the Government of Georgia, the Fund for Regional Projects allocated additional 794 413 GEL for the rehabilitation of the Gori Stadium. 
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