Club Brugge new venue plans may bear fruit

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Club Brugge stadium update Aug 2020 Image: Club Brugge

After talks going on for years together, Belgian professional football club – Club Brugge’s new stadium finally has a concept.

Club Bruges is based in Bruges in Belgium. It was founded in 1891 and its home ground is the Jan Breydel Stadium, which has a capacity of 29,062. Jan Breydel Stadium is a multiuse stadium in Sint-Andries, Bruges, Belgium. The City-owned stadium is the home stadium of two top-flight association football clubs, Club Brugge and Cercle Brugge. It is used mainly for football matches and was built in 1975.

The idea of a new stadium within the Olympia site (where current Jan Breydel Stadium stands) has been resurfacing for years but it never came as close to fruition as in 2020. All that they need now is the nod to deliver the 40,000-capacity stadium. In order to make certain that the community is heard, Club Brugge has made numerous concessions.

Despite the challenges put up in the form of the coronavirus scourge, Club Brugge managed to select the preferred design and contractors, all measuring up to both infrastructural and economic expectations. While the club refused to divulge a detailed budget estimate at this time, fans were assured that the proposal is what Club Brugge had budgeted for.

Club Brugge stadium update Aug 2020Image: Club Brugge

Created by the renowned Parisian office SCAU, the vision is particularly compact. Even though the new venue capacity would be 10,000 more than its predecessor (Jan Breydel Stadium is roughly 30,000), the difference in size would be quite modest, just a few meters taller and wider. Overall, the stadium’s length should stay within 220 meters, width in 167 m, while peak height was announced at 32 m, just four more than the old ground.

The size has been reduced to allay fears of the local residents, some of whom were afraid the new venue would overshadow their houses. Changes in landscaping are also a way to ease fears of the neighbors. Eleven training fields at Olympia would be transformed into a flat park in the style of a boulevard. Combined with textile facade (mimicking the club crest’s diagonal stripes), the trees would help disperse match day cacophony.

On game days, much of the park would be converted into green and shaded parking. In total 4,000 parking spots are to be available in and around the stadium vicinity (1,600 for VIP guests), with another 4,000 spaces for bikes and room for 125 buses.

In order to stave off the traffic snarls impact on the local community, Club Brugge is promising a number of means for ‘peak shaving’. These include encouraging early birds and phased egress from the stadium, promotion of carpooling (through special app informing fans when someone nearby has a ticket for the same game) and maximizing use of public transport.

Club Brugge stadium update Aug 2020Image: Club Brugge

The seating layout includes a massive single-tiered North end for feverish fans, able to accommodate more than 12,000 people. The West and (partly) East stands would feature premium seating customers, including 40 skyboxes, two large business clubs and several eateries. Overall, the percentage of business seats at the stadium is expected to be high, standing at 5,000 out of the total 40,000 capacity. Two concourses for fans are planned, each stand will boast its own devoted lift, guaranteeing space for at least 200 people on wheelchairs as well.

Until the arena at Olympia is complete, Club Brugge will continue to use the Jan Breydel Stadion. Once Club Brugge moves to their new facility, the historical ground would be pulled down. However, the club has confirmed the specific location of the new arena within the site might be subject to change.

So far, the biggest challenge is to ensure that the community is satisfied and no legal challenges come up before the stadium. To avoid such a scenario, a series of meetings with the proposed stadium’s neighbors has been planned. Should everything go as planned, the new stadium could see groundbreaking in the summer of 2021, with the goal of opening its gates during the 2022-23 seasons?

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Club Brugge stadium update Aug 2020Image: Club Brugge

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