Belgian champions Club Brugge’s 16-year wait for a new stadium delayed again by city planners

February 3 – Belgian champions Club Brugge will have to wait longer for a new stadium after their plans for a new stadium again fell foul of city planners.

The Council for Permit Disputes canceled Club Brugge’s environmental permit for a new stadium on the site of the Olympiapark where the club stage their current matches at the Jan Breydelstadion, a venue that hosted matches during Euro 2000. The council deemed the parking and mobility policies in the plans insufficient after complaints by local residents.

It’s the latest setback for the Belgian club who first commenced planning and building plans in 2007. Two years ago, it seemed that Brugge had finally forced the essential breakthrough when the Flemish government approved the environmental permit for a stadium with just over 40,000 seats.

The club argues a new, modern, ground is essential to propel the club to greater heights, remain competitive in Europe and drive commercial revenue. But the 16-year wait will be extended following the latest decision.

In a statement the club said: “…A hypermodern and sustainable football stadium must replace the outdated Jan Breydel stadium. For fans as well as for players, staff and residents, an upgrade to a contemporary football environment is a must.”

“Despite the broad involvement of the neighborhood in the design, the permit was challenged by a handful of local residents in an appeal procedure with the Council for Permit Disputes (RvVB). The Council ruled in today’s judgment, February 2, 2023, that these appeals were justified and annuls the permit on the basis of an interpretation of the parking standard in the Bruges building regulations that we do not share and because of an allegedly insufficient motivation for part of the objection handling regarding the environmental impact report.”

“Club Brugge notes that after 16 years, the plans for the construction of a new football stadium again come up against a judicial nullification.”

The decision highlights how difficult it can be to construct a new stadium in Belgium, where outdated infrastructure has become the norm across its football stadiums.

Suffering international embarrassment, Belgium failed to build a new national stadium to host Euro 2020 which led UEFA to strip Brussels from staging matches.

Serving as the national stadium, the infamous Heysel venue was last properly upgraded for Euro 2000. The Belgian FA is however planning minor refurbishments if Belgium were to co-host the 2027 Women’s World Cup with neighbours the Netherlands and Germany.

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