Belgian Pro League football teams Club Brugge and Cercle Brugge have been granted a new lease deal to continue playing at Jan Breydel Stadion for the coming seasons.
The stadium has a capacity of 29,000 and first opened in 1975. Club Brugge has been seeking to build a new stadium for a number of years but last month the team’s efforts were dealt another blow after the upholding of a complaint against an environmental permit granted in October 2021.
Given the impasse surrounding a new stadium, the City of Bruges, which owns Jan Breydel Stadion, has extended the lease deal for the two clubs for the foreseeable future.
The previous deal had been due to expire on June 30 but Belgian broadcaster VRT reports that the new agreement will run for “a few more years”.
Franky Demon, Minister for Sport in Brugge, said: “We would rather not have done it, because we naturally prefer a new stadium, but after the ruling of the Council for Permit Disputes, we also have to look ahead.”
He added: “The agreement ends at the time of effective use of the stadium by Club Brugge and possibly by Cercle Brugge, if Cercle does not yet have a new stadium of its own. The new agreement therefore guarantees that both teams can continue to play football in the Jan Breydel Stadion for the coming seasons, as long as necessary.”
Club Brugge has been seeking to build a new stadium since 2007 and a group led by Belgian architecture firm B2Ai and French counterpart SCAU were appointed to develop the plans, which were due to see a new stadium built on the site of Jan Breydel Stadion.
The new stadium would seat 40,116 fans, with the project also involving the deployment of an ‘Olympia Park’ around the venue. The club’s long wait to secure a new home appeared to be nearing an end after the Flemish Government announced in October 2021 that it would grant an environmental permit for the project.
Club Brugge said that the local neighbourhood had been involved in the design, but the permit was challenged by 16 local residents in an appeals procedure with the Council for Permit Disputes (RvVB).
The complaints were upheld last month, creating fresh uncertainty for the long-running project.