Ghelamco tries to stop publication of book critical of Ghent stadium


The company that built Ghent’s Ghelamco Arena has asked for an interim interdict to stop the publication of a book that calls the legality of the construction contract for the football stadium into question

‘Suspicious circumstances’

Property developer and construction company Ghelamco has filed suit against the Flemish opinion news site and publisher Doorbraak because of an upcoming book that provides details on the contract and construction of AA Gent’s football stadium, Ghelamco Arena.

The stadium opened in 2013, and the book is titled De illegale Ghelamco Arena: Als politici zich met voetbal bemoeien (The Illegal Ghelamco Arena: When Politicians Interfere with Football).

Ghelamco filed this week for an interim interdict to prevent publication of the book, which the it said was due to happen this week. According to Doorbraak, the book is not due to be published until 7 December. The case was adjourned until 22 November.

According to Doorbraak, Ghelamco’s complaint is based solely on a blurb on its website that reads: “The new stadium was only made possible in financial and politically suspicious circumstances in which cronyism has precedence over the law.”

The book’s author, Ignace Vandewalle, a political communications advisor, has been working with the file for years, the publisher said, and he is “convinced that the stadium is illegal”.

Vandewalle  experienced legal issues just last week when the court of appeal in Ghent overturned a decision by a lower court that had found in favour of Ostend mayor Johan Vande Lanotte, who was suing Vandewalle for libel.

If the request for an interdict is unsuccessful, the book will publish as scheduled. Ghelamco will, in any case, file a libel suit, in which a court will hear complaints by the company, its parent group and its CEO Paul Gheysens.

Photo: DirkVE/Wikimedia