Feyenoord calls an end to stadium development vision

Feyenoord has officially dropped plans to develop a new stadium, with the Dutch Eredivisie football club also ruling out redeveloping De Kuip amid the current economic climate.

The Rotterdam club has been weighing up its future at De Kuip, its home since the stadium opened in 1937, for more than a decade. In 2017, the green light was given for the development of Feyenoord City, a major project that intended to redevelop the area around De Kuip with housing, while building a new 63,000-seat stadium (pictured) on the banks of the River Maas.

However, these plans have run into problems of late, with Feyenoord officially putting an end to the venture yesterday (Thursday). “In the stadium file, the BVO has always said that the club would like a new stadium if the club improves financially, it can be built for a fixed price and appropriate financing is in place,” said Feyenoord’s general manager Dennis te Kloese at a press conference.

“But the club cannot take undue risks in this file. This is of course also the case with the current club management. With that as a starting point, this is the only decision we can make.”

In February, Feyenoord launched a study to determine its future stadium options, with redevelopment of De Kuip on the agenda along with a potential new home. This news came after the club in November said it was “licking its wounds” and reassessing its options after confirming that plans for a new stadium in their current guise would end due to rising costs.

Feyenoord said that “recent developments” in the construction sector were forcing the club to reconsider the many years of efforts to realise the intended new stadium. Feyenoord’s vice-chairman of the supervisory board, Gérard Moussault, said construction group BAM had presented the club with a construction cost that had increased from €320m (£267.8m/$345.6m) to €500m.

Feyenoord in February said it had commissioned a project group to investigate three options with regards a stadium for the club. Two for the renovation of De Kuip, and one for a new stadium on the identified plot of land on the River Maas.

However, after receiving this report Feyenoord has decided that all three options are unfeasible at this time. The conclusion of the report was that a new stadium would be better than seeking to redevelop De Kuip, but noted that new construction is in any case not feasible in the near future. The report states that “given the dynamics on the raw materials, energy and capital markets, it is not wise to bring the new-build variant – or any other variant – to the market now…”

Te Kloese said: “Given the long history, the amount of money, time and energy that countless people from many organisations have already invested in several stadium plans, it is extremely unfortunate to have to conclude that it all cannot be done after all. I have great appreciation for everyone who has worked on one or more plans with the best intentions in recent years, but what doesn’t work, doesn’t work.”

Stating that Feyenoord is now set to play at De Kuip for “quite some time”, Te Kloese said the club will seek talks with Stadion Feijenoord, the entity which owns and manages De Kuip, over how Feyenoord can optimise the stadium, including carrying out overdue maintenance work.

Te Kloese added: “In the expectation, or at least hope, that Feyenoord would move to a new stadium sometime in the coming years, it is understandable that a number of things have not been addressed. However, now that there is clarity, matters must be picked up in De Kuip in the short term. We have been developing plans and ideas on how to optimise the situation for some time now. We want to discuss this quickly with the stadium management.”

In response to yesterday’s announcement, Stadion Feijenoord said in a statement reported by Dutch broadcaster NOS: “We are going to map out what this means for Stadion Feijenoord. We will in any case consult with the BVO about the follow-up. We will also discuss what measures we can take within our means to continue to receive fans in De Kuip for longer.”

Image: OMA