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State Aid

State Aid: Financing of Sandefjord stadium approved




State aid granted by the municipality of Sandefjord, Norway, to a local professional football club for the building of a new stadium, was approved by the EFTA Surveillance Authority today.

This decision concludes an in-depth investigation opened by the Authority in October 2014.

In 2006, the Municipality transferred two plots of land free of charge to subsidiaries of Sandefjord Fotball AS. In return, the football club was obliged to build a new stadium. To help finance the construction of the new stadium, the football club sold part of the land to private investors for NOK 40 million. The stadium was completed in July 2007 at a total cost of NOK 110 million. Sandefjord Fotball AS has since sold the stadium.

The transfer of land was never notified to the Authority. Following a number of complaints, the Authority decided to launch an investigation to verify whether the measure entailed state aid, and if so, whether such aid was in line with the EEA Agreement.

Today's decision confirms that Sandefjord Fotball AS had been granted state aid by way of the transfer of land at issue. In particular, the Authority concluded that the part of the land sold to private investors clearly had a market value of NOK 40 million, which the Municipality had foregone by providing it free of charge to the football club.   

The Authority agreed that EEA state aid rules allow for aid to be granted for the promotion of sports, including the construction of sports infrastructure. Norway was also able to demonstrate that the aid was proportionate, given the low aid intensity and the level of non-economic activities, in particular amateur sports, that benefit from the new stadium.

The Authority also verified that Sandefjord Fotball's professional Elite team paid market rent for its use of the stadium. Finally, the Authority concluded that any distortions of trade and competition caused by the measure would in any event be very limited, given the mostly regional nature of the stadium and the football club's activities.



For further information, please contact:

Mr. Andreas Kjeldsberg Pihl
Press & Information Officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66
mob. (+32)(0)492 900 187

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