Ljudski vrt

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Ljudski vrt
Full name Stadion Ljudski vrt
Location Maribor, Slovenia
Coordinates 46°33′44″N 15°38′25″E / 46.56222°N 15.64028°E / 46.56222; 15.64028Coordinates: 46°33′44″N 15°38′25″E / 46.56222°N 15.64028°E / 46.56222; 15.64028
Owner City of Maribor
Operator Association of Sports Clubs Branik
Capacity 12,994[1]
Record attendance 20,000[2][3]
Field size 105 by 68 metres (115 by 74 yards)
Surface Grass
Scoreboard Two
Broke ground 1920
Built 1952
Opened 12 July 1952
Renovated 1958, 1960–1962, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2006–2008
Expanded 1960–1962, 1999, 2006–2008, 2010
Construction cost 10 million (2008 reconstruction)[4]
Architect Milan Černigoj & Boris Pipan (old stadium)
OFIS Architects (project Ring)
Branik Maribor (1952–1960)
Maribor (1961–)
Slovenia national football team (1994–)

Ljudski vrt (English: People's Garden, German: Volksgarten) or simply LV,[5] is an association football stadium located on the left bank of the river Drava in the district of Koroška Vrata,[6] Maribor, Slovenia, with a seating capacity of 12,994. The ground has been the home of NK Maribor for every season since their formation on 12 December 1960, with the exception of two short periods in early 1961 during the construction of the new stands and early 2008, when the stadium underwent a major reconstruction.[3] Opened in 1952, it was originally the home of Branik Maribor, an association football club, which folded and was disbanded in 1960.[7] Used as one of the main venues of the national team, the ground has hosted twenty Slovenia internationals at senior level, the first in 1994 and the most recent in 2013. Ljudski vrt has hosted more Slovenian football cup finals than any other stadium, having hosted ten matches in total (six Slovenian Cups and four Slovenian Supercups). In addition, the stadium was one of the four venues, which hosted the 2012 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship.

The area where Ljudski vrt is situated was used for burial purpuses for centuries before it was first used for football in the early 1920s. Over the course of its history the stadium has gone through various stages of renovation and development, resulting in the current configuration. The record attendance at the stadium is 20,000, which was set in a match between Maribor and Proleter Zrenjanin in 1973. This record was set before the ground's conversion to an all-seater stadium in 1998; the changes, a result of UEFA safety regulations, include greatly reduced capacity. Notable feature of the stadium includes the main stand 129,8 meters long and 18,4 meters high concrete arch that is protected by the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia (Slovene: Zavod za varstvo kulturne dediščine Slovenije) as an architectural and historical landmark.

Future plans for Ljudski vrt include the construction of a nearby underground parking garage that would solve the current parking problems and the redevelopment of the outdated main stand, which was built in 1962 and has not received a major renovation since then.[3] The stadium is a landmark of the city of Maribor and is considered as one of the most beautiful smaller stadium in the world.[3][8][9]


The area now known as Ljudski vrt was originally located outside of Maribor's city walls and served as a cemetery for centuries.[3] Around the year 1358 a small parish church with a cemetery was built and remained there until 1522 when it was abandoned,[3][10] with Turkish incursions being the most likely reason.[11] By 1571 the church was completely in ruins. The site served as a cemetery again between 1783 and 1914 when it was closed by a decision of the Maribor city council.[10] Some of the tombs were allowed to be in use until 1937 when they were transferred to a new site.[10] In 1873 a tree park (German: Volksgarten) was planted on the area from which Ljudski vrt received its present day name.[3] Around the start of the 20th century, Ljudski vrt was starting to become the recreational centre of the city and records from 1901 show that tennis was already being played there during that time.[12] During World War I, the whole area served as a shooting range for the Austro-Hungarian Army.[13] Like in other Slovenian towns (Ljubljana, Celje, Trbovlje)[14] after World War I football boomed in Maribor with the establishment of new clubs, most notably I. SSK Maribor (Slovene: 1. Slovenski Športni Klub Maribor, English: 1. Slovene Sport Club Maribor), which was founded in 1919 by Slovenian youth.[15] Together with athletics and tennis, football was one of the main sports departments of the club and in 1920 they received their first football field at the Ljudski vrt area,[13] which was erected with the help of local volunteers and prison convicts.[15]

After the World War II invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941, Maribor came under the occupation of Nazi Germany and the Nazi regime immediately disbanded all Slovene cultural and sports societies.[16] I. SSK Maribor was particularly affected with dozens of arrests and deportations of their members.[16] The club ceased all operations and many of their members joined in the fight for their fatherland and a total of 51 perished while fighting the Germans.[16] Those victims were later commemorated with the erection of a statue located on the northwestern corner of the stadium today.[16] By the end of the war Maribor was the most destroyed larger town in Yugoslavia and the whole Ljudski vrt area was devastated, completely in ruins and without an organization which would renovate and later manage the sporting infrastructure at the site. On 29 January 1949, an initiative led to the establishment of Branik Maribor football club.[17] Two years later, in 1951, they became the flagship of the new sport organization, MŠD Branik (Mariborsko Športno Društvo Branik).[18]

Black and white photograph of a football stand under construction.
The construction of the main stand in 1961.
Black and white photograph of a man and his dog who are playing on the concrete terraces of the Ljudski vrt stadium.
The concrete terraces enclosed the pitch on three sides and were used as a standing area until the 1990s.

The renovation and construction of the sports infrastructure at Ljudski vrt and throughout Maribor was the primary objective of the new sports organization during most of the late 1940s and early 1950s and on 12 July 1952 the Ljudski vrt Stadium was opened.[3][7][19] At the time the main pitch was fully enclosed by banking, surrounding the athletic track, with concrete terraces and seats located on the western side.[19] By 1958 the concrete terraces, in length of 248 meters, were constructed throughout the banking around the pitch and served as the standing area for over 40 years.[19] Milan Černigoj was the main architect of the stadium and in the late 1950s he was joined by Boris Pipan with whom they designed a new main stand on the western side of the pitch.[19] The construction began in May 1960 and was completed in 1962, with the new club offices, dressing rooms and gyms located beneath it.[19] Notable feature of the stand includes 129,8 meters long and 18,4 meters high concrete arch that is protected by the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia (Zavod za varstvo kulturne dediščine Slovenije).[20] The primary user of the stadium and the new club offices was to be NK Branik, however, the club was dissolved in 1960 due to a food poisoning affair.[7] After that, the city of Maribor was left without an association football club that would play on a professional level, which was one of the reasons why NK Maribor was established on 12 December 1960.[7] The new club found their home in Ljudski vrt and on 25 June 1961 they played their first match at the stadium, with the main stand still under construction at the time.[21]

Ljudski vrt was to remain in much the same state for another 30 years with no major developments until the early 1990s and the independence of Slovenia.[13] After the opening of the main stand in 1962 the stadium's capacity increased to over 10,000. However, as most of the stadium had only concrete standing terraces it was possible to accommodate as much as 20,000 spectators during the club's important matches.[2] The wooden benches on the main stand were replaced by plastic seats in 1994.[13] During the same year, on 24 August, the stadium received four floodlight pylons and the first football match at night was played in a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup between NK Maribor and FC Norma Tallinn; won by Maribor 10–0.[13] The capacity of the stadium was greatly reduced four years later, as a result of UEFA safety regulations, with the ground's conversion to an all-seater stadium.[13] During the 1999–2000 season Maribor became the first Slovenian club which qualified to the elite UEFA Champions League.[13][22] As a result, the stadium received its first major redevelopment since 1962 with the renovation of the main stand's VIP box and dressing rooms and club offices beneath it.[13] The terraces ring opposite of the main stand was enlarged and the total capacity of the stadium was brought to 10,160 seats, making Ljudski vrt the largest football stadium in the country at the time.[13]

Maribor results in domestic and international competitions during the 1990s and their dedicated fanbase were the main reasons for political and sports officials in the city to start thinking about a new stadium. In 1996 the OFIS Architects Project Ring was selected with a plan to fully redevelop and modernise the stadium.[3] The project included the refurbishment of the main stand and the surrounding area, removal of the athletic track and the concrete terraces on the northern, southern and eastern side of the pitch and their replacement with the brand new covered stands. In addition, the project also included new club offices, gym's, dressing rooms and commercial premises such as shops and bars located beneath the new stands. However, it would take nearly a decade for the project to become a reality when in 2006 the City of Maribor and MŠD Branik, with the help of the Government of Slovenia and the European Union, finally amassed enough funds to start the first stage of the project.[3]

The first stage of improvements, worth about 10 million euros, saw the removal of the athletic track and the uncovered stands that surrounded the pitch from the north, east and south which were replaced by new covered stands, built only couple of meters from the pitch.[3] Construction began in August 2006 and was finished by May 2008.[3] One of the improvements included the replacement of the turf, which also included the installation of the underground heating system, and during that time Maribor played couple of months at the Ptuj City Stadium in Ptuj, about 30 kilometres from the city of Maribor.[3] In addition, this was the first time that Maribor had played home matches outside of the Ljudski vrt Stadium since the opening of the main stand in 1961.[3] The new stands, which increased the stadium capacity by over 2,000 seats, were opened on 10 May 2008 during a league match against Nafta Lendava. The match was played in front of a sold out crowd of 12,435 spectators and Maribor won 3–1. The second stage of the project started in 2010 and saw the completion of the premises under the new eastern stand. It included new club offices and dressing rooms for the club, including gyms and the new VIP area. In addition, about 500 new seats were installed and the total capacity of the stadium was brought to its present 12,994 seats.


The stadium is mainly used for football and is the home ground of football club NK Maribor. It is the symbol of the club and one of the most recognizable sport landmarks in Slovenia. Beside being the home ground of NK Maribor, the stadium has also hosted final matches of the Slovenian Republic Cup, Slovenian Cup and Slovenian Supercup on numerous occasions and is also the home venue of the Slovenia national football team and was the main venue for 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifications. The stadium was also one of two main venues for UEFA Euro 2012 and 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifications.[23]

Slovenian Republic Cup finals[edit]

Date/year Attendance Home team Result Away team Competition Match report
1959 3,000 Branik Maribor 2–1 Ljubljana Republic Cup N/A
29 October 1970 3,500 Maribor 1–3
Olimpija Republic Cup Report (Slovene)
6 December 1972 3,500 Maribor 1–2 Olimpija Republic Cup Report (Slovene)
27 June 1973 500 Maribor 2–0
(1st leg)
Mura Republic Cup Report (Slovene)
28 July 1974 2,000 Maribor 4–1
(1st leg)
Rudar Trbovlje Republic Cup Report (Slovene)
22 June 1977 1,500 Maribor 2–0
(2nd leg)
Mercator Ljubljana Republic Cup Report (Slovene)
1984 1,000 Maribor 0–1 Triglav Kranj Republic Cup N/A
6 August 1986 1,500 Maribor 7–6
Slovan Republic Cup Report (Slovene)
30 July 1988 3,000 Maribor 6–5
Olimpija Republic Cup Report (Slovene)

Slovenian Cup finals[edit]

Date Attendance Home team Result Away team Competition Match report
15 June 1994 10,000 Maribor 3–1
(2nd leg)
Mura Cup Report (Slovene)
9 June 1997 8,000 Maribor 3–0
(2nd leg)
Primorje Cup Report (Slovene)
16 June 1999 6,000 Maribor 2–0
(2nd leg)
Olimpija Cup Report (Slovene)
19 May 2004 1,500 Maribor 4–0
(1st leg)
Dravograd Cup Report (Slovene)
30 May 2009 2,500 Interblock 2–1 Koper Cup Report (Slovene)
8 July 2009 2,000 Maribor 3–2
Interblock Supercup Report (Slovene)
8 May 2010 6,000 Maribor 3–2
Domžale Cup Report (Slovene)
9 July 2010 2,000 Koper 5–4
Maribor Supercup Report (Slovene)
8 July 2011 2,500 Maribor 1–2 Domžale Supercup Report (Slovene)
8 July 2012 4,157 Olimpija 1–2 Maribor Supercup Report (Slovene)

National team matches[edit]

Date Attendance Home team Result Away team Competition Match report
27 April 1994 3,000 Slovenia Slovenia 3–0 Cyprus Cyprus Friendly Report (Slovene)
7 September 1994 6,000 Slovenia Slovenia 1–1 Italy Italy UEFA Euro 1996 Q Report (Slovene)
16 November 1994 4,000 Slovenia Slovenia 1–2 Lithuania Lithuania UEFA Euro 1996 Q Report (Slovene)
29 March 1995 3,000 Slovenia Slovenia 3–0 Estonia Estonia UEFA Euro 1996 Q Report (Slovene)
14 November 1998 4,000 Slovenia Slovenia 1–0 Latvia Latvia UEFA Euro 2000 Q Report (Slovene)
9 November 1999 3,000 Slovenia Slovenia 0–3 Greece Greece UEFA Euro 2000 Q Report (Slovene)
20 August 2008 11,100 Slovenia Slovenia 2–3 Croatia Croatia Friendly Report (Slovene)
10 September 2008 10,000 Slovenia Slovenia 2–1 Slovakia Slovakia 2010 FIFA World Cup Q Report (Slovene)
11 October 2008 12,385 Slovenia Slovenia 2–0 Northern Ireland Northern Ireland 2010 FIFA World Cup Q Report (Slovene)
19 November 2008 10,000 Slovenia Slovenia 3–4 Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina Friendly Report (Slovene)
28 March 2009 12,376 Slovenia Slovenia 0–0 Czech Republic Czech Republic 2010 FIFA World Cup Q Report (Slovene)
12 August 2009 6,500 Slovenia Slovenia 5–0 San Marino San Marino 2010 FIFA World Cup Q Report (Slovene)
9 September 2009 12,000 Slovenia Slovenia 3–0 Poland Poland 2010 FIFA World Cup Q Report (Slovene)
12 August 2009 12,510 Slovenia Slovenia 1–0 Russia Russia 2010 FIFA World Cup Q Report (Slovene)
3 March 2010 5,000 Slovenia Slovenia 4–1 Qatar Qatar Friendly Report (Slovene)
4 June 2010 10,965 Slovenia Slovenia 3–1 New Zealand New Zealand Friendly Report (Slovene)
3 September 2010 12,400 Slovenia Slovenia 0–1 Northern Ireland Northern Ireland UEFA Euro 2012 Q Report (Slovene)
11 October 2011 11,000 Slovenia Slovenia 1–0 Serbia Serbia UEFA Euro 2012 Q Report (Slovene)
12 October 2012 7,988 Slovenia Slovenia 2–1 Cyprus Cyprus 2014 FIFA World Cup Q Report (Slovene)
11 October 2013 10,890 Slovenia Slovenia 3–0 Norway Norway 2014 FIFA World Cup Q Report (Slovene)
9 October 2014 Slovenia Slovenia Switzerland Switzerland UEFA Euro 2016 Q
8 September 2015 Slovenia Slovenia Estonia Estonia UEFA Euro 2016 Q

Other uses[edit]

Due to excellent acoustics, the stadium is a popular choice for concerts and other cultural performances. One of the first on the renovated stadium was the Greek Zorba musical, which had an attendance of around 6,000 people. The stadium also hosts an annual concert Piše se leto organized by Večer newspaper.


All-time football attendance records at Ljudski vrt
Rank Match Date Attendance
1 Maribor v. Proleter 8 July 1973 20,000[2][3]
2 Maribor v. Beltinci 1 June 1997 14,000[24]
3 Maribor v. Olimpija 26 November 1967 13,000[25]
4 Maribor v. Sevilla 20 February 2014 12,700[26]
5 Slovenia v. Russia 18 November 2009 12,510[27]
6 Maribor v. Olimpija 30 October 2011 12,500[28]
7 Maribor v. Nafta 10 May 2008 12,435[29]
8 Maribor v. Dinamo 28 August 2012 12,420[30]
9 Slovenia v. N. Ireland 3 September 2010 12,400[31]
10 Slovenia v. N. Ireland 11 October 2008 12,385[32]

The highest attendance recorded at the Ljudski Vrt is 20,000, for Maribor's match against Proleter Zrenjanin in the first leg of the promotional playoffs for the Yugoslav First League, on 8 July 1973.[2][3] The stadium also holds the record for the highest attendance achieved on a Slovenian league match.[33] This was set in the final round of the 1996–97 season when 14,000 spectators were present for Maribor's match against Beltinci which secured the club's first league title, on 1 June 1997.[24] The record modern (all-seated) attendance is 12,700, for the first leg of the 2013–14 UEFA Europa League Round of 32 beteween Maribor and Sevilla, on 20 February 2014.[26][34] In addition, Ljudski vrt holds the record for the highest average attendance during the Slovenian league season to date (5,289).[35]

Maribor did not lose a league match at the Ljudski vrt during the 1960–61 (Div 3), 1965–66 (Div 2), 1966–67 (Div 2), 1970–71 (Div 1), 1972–73 (Div 2), 1977–78 (Div 2), 1980–81 (Div 2), 1981–82 (Div 3), 1983–84 (Div 3), 1985–86 (Div 3), 1987–88 (Div 3), 1991–92 (Div 1), 1992–93 (Div 1), 1998–99 (Div 1) and 1999–2000 (Div 1) season. They won all their home games during the 1983-84 and 1985-86 seasons. Maribor's longest winning streak at home extended from October 1993 to November 1994, a period encompassing 17 league games, in which Maribor scored 52 goals and conceded 10.


Ljudski vrt's public transport links include rail and bus services, but it lacks dedicated parking facilities. The stadium is about 1,5 kilometres (1 mile) away from the Maribor bus station and the Maribor railway station, which lies on the Pan-European Corridor Xa (connecting Zagreb to Graz) and on Pan-European Corridor V, which connects Venice and Kiev (Ljubljana - Budapest). Several bus lines pass directly by the stadium with the nearest bus stations located less than one hundred meters from the ground. The connection to the A1 motorway, that links to the Slovenian motorway network, is located about 3 kilometres to the east, while Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport is located about 13 kilometres to the southeast of the ground.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ NK Maribor. "Ljudski vrt: Info" [Ljudski vrt info] (in Slovene). NK Maribor official website. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Prva kvalifikacijska tekma za vstop v 1. ligo" [First qualifying match for promotion in the 1st league] (in Slovene). nkmaribor.com. Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Rok Plestenjak (7 September 2014). "Stanje je resno: Uefa komaj prižgala zeleno luč za Ljudski vrt" [The situation is serious: Uefa barely gave a green light for the Ljudski vrt] (in Slovene). Siol. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "Ljudski vrt pričakuje 10 milijonov" [Ljudski vrt is expecting 10 millions] (in Slovene). RTV Slovenija. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "Spet brez TV prenosa" [Again without TV coverage] (in Slovene). NK Maribor. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  6. ^ maribor.si. "District Koroska vrata" (in Slovene). Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d bze (9 May 2009). "Kratka zgodovina NK Maribor" [Short history of NK Maribor] (in Slovene). Večer. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  8. ^ DC Scrap. "Stadiums at night: 25 beautiful cathedrals of sport". guyism.com. Retrieved 28 April 2011. 
  9. ^ OnlineProSports. "Stadion Ljudski vrt" [Ljudski vrt Stadium]. onlineprosports.com. Retrieved 28 April 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c David Kramberger. "Dobravsko pokopališče" [Dobrava cemetery] (in Slovene). zpm-mb.si. Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
  11. ^ Ignacij Voje (1996). Slovenci pod pritiskom turškega nasilja [Slovenes under pressure of Turkish violence] (in Slovene). Ljubljana: Znanstveni inštitut Filozofske fakultete. ISBN 86-7207-083-6. 
  12. ^ "Historia Docet" (in Slovene). MŠD Branik. Retrieved 26 February 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Ljudski vrt: Zgodovina" [Ljudski vrt: History] (in Slovene). NK Maribor official website. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  14. ^ "Zgodovina nogometa na Slovenskem" [History of football in Slovenia] (in Slovene). Football Association of Slovenia. Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
  15. ^ a b "Prvi slovenski športni klub Maribor 1919 - 1941" [First Slovene Sports Club Maribor 1919 - 1941] (in Slovene). MŠD Branik. Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
  16. ^ a b c d "Okupacija in Narodnoosvobodilni boj 1941 - 1945" [Occupation and national liberation struggle 1941 - 1945] (in Slovene). MŠD Branik. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  17. ^ "Obnova objektov in razvoj društva po drugi svetovni vojni" [Renovation of the facilities and the development of Society after WW2] (in Slovene). MŠD Branik. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  18. ^ "Ustanovitev mariborskega športnega društva Branik" [Foundation of Maribor Sports Society Branik] (in Slovene). MŠD Branik. Retrieved 17 January 2012. 
  19. ^ a b c d e "Izgradnja šprotnih objektov po letu 1945" [Construction of sports facilities after 1945] (in Slovene). MŠD Branik. Retrieved 17 January 2012. 
  20. ^ Miran Kambič. "Arhitektura 20. stoletja - Stadion Ljudski vrt" [Architecture of the 20th century - Stadium Ljudski vrt] (in Slovene). zvkds.si. Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  21. ^ NK Maribor. "Prva tekma NK Maribor v Ljudskem Vrtu" [NK Maribor's first match in Ljudski vrt] (in Slovene). NK Maribor official website. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  22. ^ Maribor Pohorje. "Nogometni klub Maribor" [Football Club Maribor] (in Slovene). maribor-pohorje.si. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  23. ^ http://www.rtvslo.si/sport/nogomet/ep-2012-srbi-in-severni-irci-v-maribor-italijani-v-ljubljano/229701
  24. ^ a b "Zapisnik tekme: Maribor-Potrošnik" [Official record: Maribor-Potrosnik] (in Slovene). Association of 1. SNL. Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  25. ^ "Postave: NK Maribor - Olimpija" [Lineups: NK Maribor - Olimpija] (in Slovene). NK Maribor. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  26. ^ a b "Maribor vs Sevilla". Soccerway. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  27. ^ Nogometna Zveza Slovenije (18 November 2009). "Zapisnik: Slovenia 1:0 Rusija" [Official record: Slovenia 1:0 Russia] (in Slovene). Football Association of Slovenia. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  28. ^ "Zapisnik: Maribor - Olimpija" [Official record: Maribor - Olimpija] (in Slovene). Association of 1. SNL. 30 October 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  29. ^ "Zapisnik: Maribor - Nafta" [Official record: Maribor - Nafta] (in Slovene). Association of 1. SNL. 10 May 2008. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  30. ^ nkmaribor.com (28 August 2012). "NK Maribor – GNK Dinamo Zagreb" (in Slovene). nkmaribor.com. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  31. ^ R. K., To. G. (3 September 2010). "Šok v Ljudskem vrtu!" [Shock in the Ljudski vrt!] (in Slovene). RTV Slovenija. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  32. ^ Rok Plestenjak (11 October 2008). "Sanjski zaključek Kekove čete" [Dream finish for Kek troops] (in Slovene). Siol. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  33. ^ "Statistika: Vse sezone" [Statistics: All seasons] (in Slovene). Association of 1.SNL. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  34. ^ "NK Maribor 2:2 Sevilla FC" (in Croatian). Večernji list. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  35. ^ "Statistika: Sezona 96–97 -> domače tekme" [Statistics: Season 96–97 -> home matches] (in Slovene). Association of 1.SNL. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 

External links[edit]