NEC Nijmegen plans to be back in the reckoning



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Nijmegen NEC stadium plans Image: ForzaNEC.nl

The Dutch football club NEC Nijmegen in the Netherlands wants to be at the top of the heap. But, the key to it is redevelopment of their home arena – Stadion de Goffert. The club has an ambitious project to redecorate the stadium, even if that means that the capacity of the stadium would grow by 2,500 seats. Because in terms of secondary uses and revenue it’s a complete game changer. But will the project come to fruition and put NEC back in Eredivisie (the highest echelon of professional football in the Netherlands) for good?

In the past season, NEC Nijmegen saw an average turnout of 8,500 people. It’s the third best result of the Dutch second division, not bad for a mid-table team. The club’s board wants that the team should be back in the reckoning (Eredivisie) in the forthcoming seasons. To attain that goal, overhauling the facility is the need of the hour.

As of today, the stadium can fit in 12,500 people and is spacious enough for the second tier. But, to be back as a top-flight club for good, there is enough room to grow. Extending the current stands towards the field will make possible to increase the capacity of the venue to some 15,000. Like in many Dutch stadia, currently the front row is elevated, leaving space to fill without interfering with the structure.

The external changes to be made in the stadium will cost a bomb. The present arena would be surrounded with secondary uses. It may be mentioned that Stadion de Goffert is similar to Zentralstadion in Leipzig – has been built within the old oval stadium outline. NEC intends to fill the space between historic outline and existing stands.

Right now, the scenario is that the club does not have a ground to boast its own but has an option to buy it outright until mid-2021. Latest plans are being unfolded. While preliminary, this should be the basis for further work. For now, NEC is examining what is permissible within current zoning regulations.

“Many social institutions want to work with us in the new stadium. We are busy with all those parties and we want to show them that we want to have a stadium here for the club, but also for the city and for the people. We want to solve problems in the areas of housing, business space and social issues, creating a new heart of Nijmegen, an icon of the city,” said General Director Wilco van Schaik.

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