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New plans detailed for Club Brugge stadium

The City of Bruges has outlined a proposal for new stadia for Belgian Pro League football teams Club Brugge and Cercle Brugge, although the plans have not been met with approval by the latter.

Club Brugge and Cercle Brugge currently share the Jan Breydel Stadium (pictured), which is owned by the City of Bruges and has a capacity of 29,000. The stadium opened in 1975 and was one of the venues for the 2000 UEFA European Championships, which Belgium co-hosted with the Netherlands.

In a statement released on Friday, the city detailed the need for new stadia for its two clubs, with Jan Breydel Stadium becoming outdated.

It has been proposed that Club Brugge build a new stadium next to the current Jan Breydel Stadium, while a new ground is built for Cercle Brugge along the Blankenbergse Steenweg. The new Club Brugge stadium would have a capacity of 40,000 and would be built by the 2022-23 season.

The city pointed to the fact that reducing the number of tenants on the Jan Breydel Stadium site would lessen the impact of pedestrian traffic and noise pollution on match days. Smart mobility and parking solutions have been proposed for the new Club Brugge stadium.

The City of Bruges said the proposal is in line with Cercle Brugge’s demand for its own stadium. The capacity of this stadium is yet to be determined.

Club Brugge has released a statement supporting the plans but Cercle Brugge has said it is “astonished” to hear about the proposal.

Cercle said it has been actively involved in developing a solution that would benefit the city and its two football clubs and has previously proposed a detailed renovation project for Jan Breydel Stadium, as well as suggesting alternative locations.

Cercle said it has always had “good dialogue” with the city but stated that the proposal outlined on Friday “has never been discussed in any scenario”, with the club having first been informed of the plans by telephone at around 10pm the night before.

Cercle’s statement continued: “We have so far received no official written communication, financial or other guarantees, or any detail on this proposal to base a strategic decision.

“We are only aware of the decision of the Bruges Schepencollege of 22 June 2015 in which it is stated that Cercle can continue its sporting activities on the Jan Breydel site in the event that Club Brugge wishes to move to Blankenbergse Steenweg.”

The statement went on to emphasise that Cercle is satisfied with its current training ground and has contributed to recent renovation work at Jan Breydel Stadium. Cercle said that there is no concrete proposal that currently offers a solution in the interest of the club.

The statement added: “Given the history of problems Club Brugge has had with the Blankenbergse Steenweg site, there is no legal certainty that a stadium can ever be built there, and that within a reasonable period of time. Cercle Brugge now wants to sit down with the city council as quickly as possible in order to find a concrete, workable solution that offers the necessary guarantees for Cercle.”

Image: Валерий Дед