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Design & Development

Royale Union Saint-Gilloise pushing forward with new stadium plan

Featured image credit: Royale Union Saint-Gilloise

Belgian Pro League football club Royale Union Saint-Gilloise (USG) is hoping to submit a planning application for a new stadium by mid-2024 as talks continue with the Municipality of Forest.

The Brussels-based club will continue negotiations with the Municipality in the coming weeks as the two parties seek to reach an agreement on the “concrete terms” of the project, as well as the transfer of the rights to the Bempt site on which the stadium would be built.

It has been agreed that USG will launch a mobility study and environmental impact analysis in September. The results of this study, which will be carried out by an external consultancy agency, are expected to be released in early 2024.

Based on the results of this study and depending on the outcome of negotiations between USG and the Municipality of Forest, the club is hopeful that a planning application can be submitted later in 2024.

The development comes after USG in February expressed its disappointment after local authorities in the Municipality of Forest refused to support the club’s plans for a new stadium.

USG revealed at the time that it had learned via reports in the media that its offer to build a new stadium in Forest had received a “negative response” from the mayor and the council. The club had presented its vision for a new stadium in January.

USG returned to the top tier of Belgian football in 2021-22 after a 48-year absence and eventually finished runner-up. Last season, the club reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League and finished third in the Pro League.

The club’s success in recent years has led to renewed assessment of its stadium situation, with the 8,000-capacity Stade Joseph Marien in Forest deemed unsuitable. The stadium opened in 1919 and was redeveloped between 2016 and 2018.

USG is hoping to build a new stadium with a capacity of between 15,000 and 16,000 seats, with the venue to be built on underdeveloped land owned by the Municipality of Forest, which has been reluctant to sell. The stadium would reportedly cost between €80m (£69.1m/$88.7m) and €100m, and the club plans on fully financing the project.

In a statement released last week, USG thanked Brussels’ recently appointed Secretary of State, Ans Persoons, for organising the latest round of talks regarding the project.