Our history

The Donbass Arena is the first stadium in Eastern Europe designed and built to UEFA elite standards. It had been conceived long before the Pitmen won the UEFA Cup and Ukraine won the EURO 2012 bid. At the Grand Opening of the arena the FC Shakhtar president Rinat Akhmetov stated that the idea to build an ultimate stadium for fans in Donetsk had originated 10 years ago. When addressing his compatriots at the ceremony, he said, “Dear friends, the Donbass Arena was built thanks to you. The Donbass Arena was built for you.”

The eye-catching stadium was designed by Arup Sport, which was the creative and inspirational force behind some of the world’s greatest arenas, such as the City of Manchester Stadium (Manchester, England), Allianz Arena stadium (Munich, Germany), the new stadium of Valencia CF (Valencia, Spain), Sydney Football Stadium (Sydney, Australia), Beijing National Stadium (or the Bird’s Nest in Beijing, China) etc. The Donbass Arena’s design is the brain child of Arup’s internationally-renowned British architect, Jay Parrish, and his vision is crystallized in the building’s glazed facade, soaring roof, dramatic lighting scheme and elegant landscaping. The total project budget was USD 400m.

Turkish company ENKA acted as the prime contractor. Construction was started in 2006 and completed in 2009. To erect the five-star arena to such a tight schedule (3 years) over 1,600 people worked on site at peak times.

The stunning Grand Opening ceremony was prepared by Italian agency, K-Events, which is vastly experienced in organising major international events, drawing on its strengths as a communication agency and its wealth of experience as a production company to produce shows and corporate events, seeing each project through from the planning and design stages to the realisation of the event. K-events was declared the Best Event Agency at the European BEA awards in 2009, a title it has claimed three times in the last four years. Larger international productions include the planning and production of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the XX Winter Olympics in Turin in 2006, the IX Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony in 2006, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the XVI Mediterranean Games in Pescara in 2009, the Flag Handover of XIX Olympic Closing Ceremony Salt Lake City in 2002.

Expertise and effort of all those who worked hard to build the stadium and fulfill the Grand Show at the ‘Diamond of Donetsk’ were highly appreciated. As of 2010, the arena has received several awards, including: the 2009 Top Construction Site award by Donetsk Design & Construction Club, the 2009 Best International Mobotix Project award, the 2009 Best Construction in Ukraine prize. And the Grand Show that had introduced the Donbass Arena to the entire world won the Event of the Year 2009 by the Stadium Business Awards in 2010.

Construction timeline

Summer 2006

The groundbreaking was marked by the signing of contracts between FC Shakhtar and Turkish company ENKA on 27 June 2006.

Excavation works commenced. Circa 460,000 m3 of soil was excavated to make the foundation pit.

Autumn 2006

The construction site covered the area of 234,376 sq.m. The first underpinning piles were secured in the stadium’s south blocks (3,248 piles support the stadium's multi-ton foundation).

Winter 2006/07

Special serrated bars were installed by the specialists to make the framework for the future stands.

Spring 2007

The first big concrete element of the stand was erected on the stadium’s north side.

Summer 2007

Rodding works were performed. Over 160,000 m3 of concrete was cast into the building frame to reinforce it.

Autumn 2007

Winterizing works started. They finished casting the ferroconcrete pillars and continued mounting the roof trusses. Installation of engineering systems launched.

Winter 2007/08

Roof construction continued, the total weight of the roofing metalwork made over 6,000 tons. Façade glazing works kicked off.

Spring 2008

The last truss support complete. The roof was assembled from 12 individual 60-tonne framework structures. Roof covering works commenced. Glazing was in progress, the stadium’s façade was covered with 3,900 glass units of 2.2 m x 2.6 m, each weighing 300-350 kg.

Summer 2008

Continuation of roof structure works.

Autumn 2008

On 23 September the president of FC Shakhtar Rinat Akhmetov unveiled the stadium’s name – the Donbass Arena.

Pitch drainage layers were installed and the airing system was assembled. Lighting equipment for concerts and shows was brought in and tested.

Winter 2008/09

They commenced mounting seats in the stadium’s bowl. The giant Donbass Arena logo was installed near the eastern approach to the stadium.

Spring 2009

Shakhtar squad visited the Donbass Arena for the first time in April. Players and coaches planted a tree in the park.

The FC Shakhtar crest was erected above the stadium’s south entrance. The installation of the pitch floodlighting system and pitch drainage system was completed.

Summer 2009

Natural turf was laid. Roof structure completed. A colossal Floating Football made of granite was placed by the south entrance. The sound system and two giant LED scoreboards (92 sq.m each) mounted. Spectator seats ready for receiving visitors.