The idea for a football centre came about a few years ago when, at its 16th session on 12 April 2010, the NZS Executive Committee passed a resolution in support of activities to construct a national training centre at Brdo. It was largely based on a desire to provide the right conditions for elite-standard training for the national team at a single location.

That same year, preparations were begun to make the ‘Brdo National Football Centre’ project a reality. During this preparatory phase, the Slovenian Football Association (NZS) concentrated its efforts on obtaining the relevant building permits. In November of that year, the Slovenian government granted the NZS the right to construct three football pitches and auxiliary facilities on property belonging to the Brdo pri Kranju estate. This was followed in 2011 by the right, granted for a period of 50 years, to construct an NZS office building. In 2013 the NZS selected a company for project design, engineering and supervision, and held a public tender to select a firm of architects. In collaboration with the Arti inženiring company from Nova Gorica and the ARK Arhitektura Krušec architecture firm, plans were drawn up for the project and procedures commenced to acquire all the necessary permits, in line with the legal requirements and the spatial planning instruments applicable to the area in question.

Some minor construction work was carried out in the autumn of 2013 on the basis of an agreement reached with the protocol service (JGZ Brdo) in relation to the area of the former hippodrome in which the football pitches were to be sited. Owing to strict heritage protection and other requirements, the process of obtaining building permits lasted until the middle of 2014, which was when permits for the football pitches, multi-purpose sports centre and office building were finally granted. In autumn 2014 the NZS selected a contractor through public tender and signed an agreement to commence the construction work.

In the second phase of the project, i.e. from the beginning of 2015, work began on the construction of buildings at the Brdo National Football Centre. The football pitches were laid first, followed by construction of the multi-purpose sports centre (containing a gym and medical centre) and the NZS office building.

The conditions brought about by the construction of the National Football Centre will go on to provide the NZS with all the necessary financial, organisational and expert support to allow it to develop national age-group teams. A systematic approach, coupled with the establishment of long-term objectives, has already brought Slovenia measure of success, as shown by its appearances at the European Championship and the World Cup.

The National Football Centre has provided the NZS with a suitable space and all the infrastructure necessary for enabling staff and players to prepare for matches properly and without interruption. At the same time, the association is now able to organise other football-related events and activities in a methodical way: courses for training staff and referees, youth team work, football-related events for the general public and so on.

While the National Football Centre is dedicated at heart to the Slovenian national team, its capacities can undoubtedly also satisfy the needs of domestic and foreign clubs. We will therefore make the pitches and accompanying facilities available to other users when not in use by the national team. The centre should prove particularly attractive to clubs looking for locations for pre-season summer training. The facilities might also be used by domestic and foreign clubs appearing in European club tournaments. We believe that by marketing the football centre effectively, in combination with the services offered by JGZ Brdo, we will be able to cover most of the costs of running and maintaining the centre’s facilities. We are also in a position to invest revenues in the further development of football-related activities at the local or national level.

The multi-purpose sports centre has been sited directly adjacent to the football pitches. The building itself has been designed in such a way as to aid the work of media and marketing organisations, allowing journalists, partners and other invited guests to watch training sessions in comfort.

The construction of this centre, which is comparable to those found in developed European countries, without doubt brings significant improvements to football at the highest level and will aid the further development of the sport in Slovenia.