With its headquarters alongside, the Lithuanian Football Federation took over this 5,000-capacity ground after the club that rebuilt it, FK Vetra, went bankrupt in 2010.
The then Vetra Stadium had hosted its first international in 2005, soon after the club from Rudiškes in Vilnius County had bought and converted the former Lokomotyvas railway workers’ ground. Though never crowned champions, FK Vetra were regular competitors in Europe, and hosted Llanelli and Blackburn here in 2007, then Fulham two years later.
Set close to Vilnius train station, a short hop from the airport and an easy stroll from the city centre, the Lietuvos futbolo federacijos (LFF) stadionas easily meets demand for domestic league fixtures. In a season, 2016, when they finished champions and runners-up, Žalgiris and Trakai attracted an average of 795 and 261 spectators respectively, both the highest and lowest of the eight-team top-flight A Lyga.
For internationals, it’s a different story, and a full house was recorded for the visit of Scotland in September 2017. In 2015, trouble broke out in the stands and riot police were forced to act after home fans clashed with England supporters who had bought tickets from locals outside the ground.
When the national team is hosting qualifying matches, visiting supporters are usually allocated sections RA and RB of the East Stand (Rytų Tribüna) where Liepkalnio gatvé meets Stadiono gatvé. Alongside, one end is completely open – the LFF Stadium only has three stands. Home fans occupy the other end, the South Stand (Pietų Tribüna). Pietų IV are the main Žalgiris fan group, a hangover from the old days. Along the opposite sideline to the East Stand, the VIP Tribüna has easy access to the Lithunian Football Federation building behind it.
For domestic fixtures, there’s usually one (low) general admission price, and a much higher one for the VIP Stand. Those paying top euro can watch the game under cover.
The stadium is conveniently near the train station, on the airport side of the city. Those flying into Vilnius have a choice of transport. Every hour or so, the train takes you into the main station. Alternatively, the hourly No.2 bus serves the stop by the stadium, Stadionas, seven from the airport. It’s also two stops from the train station (Stotis) if you’re coming from town. Other buses that cover the two stops between station and stadium are the Nos.12, 16, 19, 61 and 82, but the walk is only 10-15min, turning right out of the station building onto Geležinkelio gatvé, then right again under the rails and straight along Liepkalnio gatvé.
A taxi from airport to stadium should be €10 but agree a price first.
There’s no direct public transport from the city centre to the stadium. If you’re on the other side of Vilnius from the stadium, up by the Neris river, then frequent express bus 1G runs through town to the train station. From the Old Town, it’s hardly worth bothering with buses – the stadium is either a €6-€7 taxi journey or a 20min walk south, down Didžioji gatvé, that becomes Ausros Vartų gatvé as it approaches the Gates of Dawn and the train station.
For international matches, supporters should contact their individual FAs for ticket details. As stadium capacity is only 5,000, allocation and availability for away fans tend to be pretty limited.
For domestic league fixtures, a general pay-on-the-day admission price of €5 is the norm, €13 for access to the VIP Stand.
Bizarrely, there are no souvenir shops at the stadium or in Vilnius. The Lithuanian FA distributes national team replica shirts (€35/numbered €40) and scarves (€15) online or from a store in Kaunas.
Žalgiris have no outlet online or in Vilnius. The Žalgiris souvenir shop you might see online is for a basketball team… from Kaunas.
There are no bars or restaurants in the immediate vicinity of the stadium, or at the stadium itself. Those in the Old Town are a 20min walk away.
On match days, stalls set up outside the ground, with taps of affordable, non-filtered Vilniaus Alus, served in plastic glasses, and little cups of beer sticks, but there may be a different policy on alcohol sales for international fixtures.