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AZ Alkmaar details expansion vision amid roof repair

Dutch Eredivisie football club AZ Alkmaar has revealed its AFAS Stadion will remain without a full roof for the rest of the 2019-20 season, as it detailed expansion plans for its home ground.

AZ returned to its stadium on December 15 for the 1-0 Eredivisie win over Ajax, having been forced to leave its home in the wake of the high-profile roof collapse at the venue. AZ played its ‘home’ matches at Cars Jeans Stadion, home of rival Eredivisie club ADO Den Haag, after AFAS Stadion’s roof partially collapsed at the beginning of August.

The club revealed that the incident, which led to no injuries, was caused by strong winds, with work taking place to take down three quarters of the stadium’s roof structure, before developing a new design that was hoped to have been installed before the end of the 2019-20 season.

However, speaking during the club’s New Year’s reception, AZ general manager Robert Eenhoorn said the new roof will now be installed during the summer, in time for the 2020-21 campaign. AFAS Stadion officially opened in August 2006 and has a current capacity of around 17,000.

Looking long-term, Eenhoorn said AZ has a three-phase concept in mind for the redevelopment, and expansion, of the stadium. “The first phase is the roof, with here and there an adaptation for the building itself,” he said, according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

Regarding the latter two phases, he continued: “(Phase two is about) extending the tribune sections. The main stand and the Ben-tribune. The third phase involves the other two stands.”

Eenhoorn added: “We want to expand… think of between two and a half to five thousand extra seats. We are not going to build a tier on the existing tier, that would be a waste of money. The focus is mainly on comfort and experience.”

Image: AZ Alkmaar