Tiriac, Ilie Nastase, Halep, other tennis players sign petition requesting the return of BNR Arenas in the sports circuit
Several former and current tennis players, including Ion Ţiriac (photo 1), Ilie Năstase and Simona Halep (photo 2), have signed a petition to the Romanian Government requesting the return of the BNR Arenas in the sports circuit, namely to transfer the base from the administration of the National Bank of Romania to the Romanian state, in order to be modernized and used for sports purposes.
The petitioners are: Ioan Ţiriac, Ilie Năstase, Virginia Ruzici, Simona Halep, Irina Begu, Sorana Cîrstea, Andrei Pavel, Horia Tecău, Florin Mergea, Marius Copil, Adrian Ungur, Nicolae Frunză, George Cosac, Cosmin Hodor, and juniors Rares Golescu (10 years old, 4th in national rankings), Stefan Haita (9 years old, 20th national) and Mihai Haita (11 years, 70th place national) – through their legal representatives.
Former tennis player, businessman Ion Ţiriac, said on Tuesday, during a press conference, that the National Bank of Romania (BNR) claims to have bought the Sports Complex “Arenele BNR” for about USD 200,000 in 1991 and now requests from the state in exchange for it the amount of EUR 35 million.
“According to the 1991 protocol, the BNR had to pay RON 51,435.3 for the BNR Arenas, at the time it was about USD 200,000, so the BNR bought 17 hectares for USD 200,000, the buildings and the football stadium, when today for some plum brandy one can to jail from the office of minister … No one is looking at this, how is that possible? I have nothing with Governor Isarescu or the BNR, but how is it possible? BNR claims to have bought a land in the middle of Bucharest for USD 200,000, after which it comes now and says that if the state wants to buy it back, the sum is EUR 35 million,” the businessman said.
He revealed that in 1990 he personally invested EUR 400,000 in the reconstruction of the BNR Arenas.
“In 1990 (…) the BNR did not start to invest there, I did. We played the Bucharest tournament on the BNR Arenas and every year we rebuilt the Central Court. We also wanted to consolidate the stands, but they were not our property and we were not allowed,” Tiriac said.
The former tennis player claims that the National Bank of Romania should pay about EUR 130 million to the Romanian state for the 17 hectares.
“The men’s tennis tournament went to Budapest and it can get back by December this year to to Bucharest in 2019. Everybody says why I insist and why not build a complex on another land for the tournament. It can be done, but why would I do it? What is Bernabeu in Madrid and Roland Garros in Paris, are the BNR Arenes – the cradle of Romanian tennis, Ilie Nastase was born on this court, then I played and others like me. Why in the world is BNR doing with this complex so it shut it down?” Tiriac asked.
“We are asking for a solution, not for a Government Decision. But that’s the law, I cannot go to court without warning them (the Government – our note). They have to give me a reply in 30 days, and then I can go to court and say that I’m not happy, even if the base went back to the Government. As we pay taxes to the state, everyone should pay. The government can make a decision and could take over the complex in 10 days. But I am not happy because I would like to move it to a foundation, by paying EUR 1-2 million, and the basis to remain only for sports. Let’s never see there some 30-storey blocks or other things,” Tiriac added.
Present at the press conference, Ilie Năstase, and one of the signatories of the petition to the Government, said he is not optimistic about the shift from BNR to the Sports Ministry or to the City Hall. “I am sorry to say, but I do not think we have chances. We are speaking in vain, we fight for nothing, may God forgive Mr. Governor,” Năstase said.
Simona Halep: I wish we could play again on the Central Court at BNR Arenas
Romanian tennis player Simona Halep, 1st WTA, said on Tuesday the lack of tournaments as BRD Bucharest Open at the BNR Arenas would be a loss for everyone.
“I wish we could play again on the Central Court at BNR Arenas. It would be a loss not to use it, especially that we have lots of girls ranking in the top 100. Lots of children come to tennis. It would be a pity to lose the women’s tournament,” Halep said.
She added she has told PM Mihai Tudose about the wish to play again in Bucharest in front of a lot of spectators. “I also expressed the wish to play on the Central Court and to bring people to tennis matches. (…) I wish for the future that children have a tennis school, with good conditions and financial support, lots of talents are lost because they do not have financial support. Tennis is very expensive,” Simona Halep added.