ESSMA Stadium Industry Updates – 16 May 2023

The latest updates from the stadium industry.

Bath Rugby unveils revised plans for Recreation Ground redevelopment

English Premiership club Bath Rugby has unveiled revised plans for a major redevelopment of the Recreation Ground. On 7 May, fans attending Bath’s home match against Saracens were given the chance to view the project and visuals for the redevelopment. Another  consultation, open to the wider public, was held on 10 May and a final one will be held on May 18. Bath said the latest designs reflect the changing needs of the club, the city and the community. The project proposes a year-round venue that will sit alongside a redeveloped, more open and well maintained riverside. The Stadium for Bath project proposes a new 18,000-capacity stadium to be built on the site of the Recreation Ground. The club hopes to submit a planning application to Bath and North East Somerset Council in the summer of 2023 ahead of construction work potentially starting in the second quarter of 2024.

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UEFA introduces new safety measures for European finals

UEFA, football’s European governing body, has introduced several measures to enhance existing safeguards for fans attending its competition finals following recommendations published by an independent review of the events at last season’s Champions League final at the Stade de France. The measures concern standard operating procedures, host bidding requirements and internal compliance mechanisms to ensure that Uefa finals provide a “safe, secure and welcoming environment” for all fans at its club and national team competition finals. Plans include making stadiums more accessible to children, older people and people with disabilities.

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Twickenham stadium repurposes plastic cups into sustainable benches

Twickenham Stadium has furthered its association with Lyfecycle, self-destructing plastic technology developed by British firm Polymateria, by announcing that the London venue’s plastic cup event waste will be turned into team benches for use across grassroots rugby union. Twickenham Stadium’s cups used at the Autumn Nations Series were collected and repurposed into sustainable benches with the help of Lyfecycle and their community recycling partners Impact Solutions and Circular 11. The cups were cleaned and shredded before being mixed with recycled plastic. This mixture was then melted and shaped into planks for the bench.

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Deutsche Bank Park to host two NFL Games

As part of its commitment to play regular season games in Germany for the next four years, beginning with 2022’s debut fixture, the NFL will play two games in 2023 in Frankfurt, the League has confirmed. Super Bowl LVII champion the Kansas City Chiefs kick off the 2023 Frankfurt Games on November 5, as they play the Miami Dolphins at Deutsche Bank Park, home of Bundesliga football club Eintracht Frankfurt. The following weekend, November 12, the New England Patriots face the Indianapolis Colts to complete the 2023 International Games.

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Roma council approves resolution of public interest for new AS Roma Stadium

Italian Serie A football club AS Roma has taken a major step forward in its efforts to develop a new stadium in the Pietralata district of Rome, with the City Council approving a resolution establishing the public interest status of the project. The Council took the decision with 32 votes in favour and three abstentions. Roma in February hailed the “important step” of its proposed new stadium initially being declared a project of public interest. Following submission of the final project, the Lazio Region will start an environmental impact assessment procedure and amendments to the stadium plan will be assessed before being put to a final Council vote. Roma is hoping that work can begin on the stadium next year so that it is ready in 2027, when the club celebrates its centenary.

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Local residents vote against Oxford United stadium plans

League One football club Oxford United has said that it welcomes concerns raised over its planned new stadium after local residents in Kidlington rejected the project during a vote held Wednesday 10 May. Kidlington residents were asked whether the parish council should support the building of an 18,000-seat stadium for United in the village. The BBC reports that 3,006 ballot papers were submitted, with 2,073 voting no and 928 voting yes. Five papers were rejected. The vote is not legally binding and United said the poll represents an opportunity for the club to listen and take away feedback on how it can improve its proposals. Over the next couple of weeks, the club will hold a series of exhibitions to showcase the first parts of the detail.

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Real Betis announces architects in the running for redevelopment project

Spanish LaLiga football club Real Betis has announced that seven proposals have made it to the final stage of a process to design a redeveloped Estadio Benito Villamarín.

The Seville-based club received 30 applications from architecture firms around the world. The seven proposals that have been selected will have until June 15 to submit their final plans for the reimagined stadium.

The final shortlist includes proposals from:

  • AFL Architects and Ayesa
  • Fenwick & Iribarren, MC2 and SBP
  • IDOM and SV60
  • L35, KSS, Argenia and Ines Ingeniería
  • Lamela, Eddea and Buro Happold
  • Populous, HCP and IDEAM
  • Rafael de la Hoz and Gensler

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Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspurs FC top Sports Positive Leagues’ annual sustainability ranking for second year running

Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have retained their leadership position in Sport Positive Leagues’ annual ranking of the environmental sustainability efforts of English Premier League clubs, with Wolverhampton Wanderers the big mover. For the fourth time, Sport Positive Leagues, part of the Sport Positive group which organises the annual Sport Positive Summit, has collated a cross section of information, resulting in the Sport Positive Leagues EPL 2022 Matrix. Liverpool and Tottenham remain in joint first position for the second year running, with scores of 24/27. Liverpool initially moved up to join Tottenham in last year’s rankings. Manchester City places third (23/27) and Southampton fourth (20/27), with the two clubs having previously been on a level footing.

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Raków Częstochowa to receive state funding for stadium redevelopment

Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has pledged PLN40 million (€8.82m) in Government funding to help redevelop the home of newly-crowned Ekstraklasa champion, Raków Częstochowa. Raków’s ambitions are currently hampered by its stadium.

Miejski Stadion Piłkarski “Raków” first opened in 1955 and has a current capacity of only 5,500. It is not eligible to host UEFA Champions League games beyond the third qualifying round, and can only stage the qualifying rounds of other UEFA club competitions. The club therefore currently needs to find another home outside of the city of Częstochowa to play such matches.Raków is said to be targeting expansion to a 15,000-capacity stadium. Club owner, Michał Świerczewski, said: “Talks have been going on for many months about what we can do to bring European cups to Częstochowa as quickly as possible, so that we don’t have to rent a stadium outside of Częstochowa.

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Real Zaragoza presents stadium redevelopment plans

Spanish Segunda Division football club Real Zaragoza has presented plans for a €140m project that would expand the Estadio La Romareda to a capacity of 42,500 in an effort to be part of the country’s joint bid with Portugal for the 2030 FIFA World Cup. The plans, which have been drawn up by Spanish consulting, engineering and architecture company IDOM, have been presented to tie in with the Spanish Football Federation’s (RFEF) deadline of May 12 to submit required documentation for venues aspiring to be part of the World Cup. Construction work will be carried out in phases, ensuring Real will be able to continue playing at the stadium while redevelopment is taking place. It is hoped that work can commence in the summer of 2024.

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