Zurich to save millions in stadium court battle

The city of Zurich will be breathing a sigh of relief after a court ordered it to pay 340,000 francs ($353,000) instead of a potential 23 million francs ($24 million) to leading Swiss construction company Implenia.

Zurich to save millions in stadium court battle
The Letzigrund stadium was built for Euro 2008. Photo: ND Strupler

The city has been embroiled in a legal battle with Implenia over the construction of Zurich's Letzigrund stadium, which was built for the 2008 Euro football championships held in Switzerland and Austria.

The construction company, whose head office is in Dietlikon near Zurich, was claiming an additional 23 million francs  to cover 1,392 modifications to the stadium which it said increased the final cost of the project, according to news agency ATS.

In its 220-page verdict given on Friday, a district court rejected the majority of Implenia’s arguments, judging that the city should pay just 340,000 francs to the construction company.

The ruling in the city’s favour means Implenia must also cover the city’s court costs of 370,000 francs and pay 98.5 percent of the 490,000 legal bill.

The city authorities are – understandably – satisfied by the judgement, said ATS.

The ruling means that the final cost for the stadium is 100 million francs, just under the amount budgeted.

In a statement,  Implenia said “An initial assessment suggests that the court’s reasoning fails to engage with Implenia’s arguments.”

“Implenia is of the unchanged opinion that the city must pay for the alterations it asked for and that were carried out.”

The company added it was “considering its next steps with regard to the two remaining courts of appeal.”

The legal tussle between the two parties is set to continue in any case, since the city has also lodged a complaint against Implenia for an alleged leak in the stadium’s roof.

The city is demanding the roof be fixed or compensation of 10 million francs.

“Implenia decidedly rejects the allegations and the related demands,” said the construction company.

A sports ground was first built on the Letzigrund site in 1925, owned by FC Zurich.

It was extended and reconstructed several times before being demolished in 2006 to make way for the new stadium.

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Swiss rail to close ticket counters in Zurich, Bern, Vaud, Ticino and Zug

Switzerland’s Federal Railways (SBB) will be removing the ticket counter from nine stations in the cantons of Zurich, Vaud, Bern, Zug and Ticino

Swiss rail to close ticket counters in Zurich, Bern, Vaud, Ticino and Zug

The SBB made the announcement on Wednesday, saying the decision was made due to a lack of demand. 

Instead, commuters will need to buy tickets from automated machines. 

In the canton of Zurich, the ticket stations in Dietlikon, Hinwil, Kloten, Männedorf and Oberwinterthur will be closed. 

In neighbouring Zug, Cham’s ticket counter will be closed, while the Herzogenbuchsee station in Bern will also go fully automated. 

MAPS: The best commuter towns when working in Zurich

In Latin Switzerland, Pully in Vaud and Biasca in Ticino will see their ticket counters closed. 

The SBB told Swiss news outlet Watson that approximately 95 percent of ticket sales are now made via self-service machines or online. 

The advent of navigation apps has meant the need for personal advice on directions and travel has fallen, particularly in smaller areas or stations with lower traffic.