Memento not granted legal protection against football center

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Flowers and wreaths were left at the Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Tallinn on March 25, 2021. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Tallinn Administrative Court on Thursday did not grant interim legal protection to the Memento association and private individuals who are against the building of a football hall as the court deemed it unnecessary in the ongoing dispute.

The Memento association and several private individuals filed an action with the Tallinn Administrative Court on July 21 to challenge the Tallinn city government's order endorsing a detailed spatial plan with a view to building the football hall in Tallinn's Maarjamäe area.

"We are not fighting against football halls, but we are standing up for the sacredness that has been achieved with a successful project to be preserved at Maarjamäe," Arnold Aljaste, chairman of the Estonian Memento association, said.

The state real estate management company RKAS said already in June last year that an alternative location should be considered for the sports hall in cooperation with the state, the Tallinn city government and the Levadia football club.

The Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center) said at the government's press conference on Thursday that the matter was discussed last fall both in the government coalition as well as with interest groups. The possibility of a compromise was recognized at the time but no written agreement was concluded, he added.

Meanwhile, a detailed spatial plan has been established for the area and reviewed by the minister of public administration.

"I mainly checked if it had been conducted correctly in procedural and legal terms. I did not see any incompatibilities or shortcomings, hence the recommendation that if the City of Tallinn wishes, this plan can be established," Aab said.

The minister noted that the plan would see a football hall constructed in Maarjamäe together with an administrative building for the football club. He added that a compromise is planned to be discussed according to which the hall would be built elsewhere.

"I have been calling on the parties to hold a meeting in the near future in order to ask the same questions I asked last fall -- is there a compromise agreement enabling to build this hall elsewhere?" Aab said. The minister noted that the City of Tallinn has consented to allocating land for the project in such a way that the construction site next to the memorial would be much smaller than initially planned, only consisting of the administrative building and outdoor football fields.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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