Design & Development

Ineos ‘exploring plans’ to expand Old Trafford capacity to 90,000

Featured image credit: Nat Callaghan on Unsplash

Ineos, the petrochemicals company owned by British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, is reportedly considering the possibility of expanding the capacity of Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium to 90,000 if the 70-year-old is successful in his bid to secure a 25-per-cent stake in the club.

Over the weekend, it emerged that Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani had withdrawn his offer to buy United outright. Both Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe had submitted bids for a majority stake in the club, but they reportedly failed to meet the valuation set by the Glazer family, which has owned United since 2005, of between £5bn (€5.8bn/$6.1bn) and £6bn.

Sheikh Jassim’s withdrawal would leave Ratcliffe in the box seat to secure a minority stake, with multiple reports claiming that the latter has submitted an offer for a 25-per-cent stake worth £1.3bn. The United board is set to meet on Thursday to discuss Ratcliffe’s offer.

The Times has reported that Ineos will explore how to expand Old Trafford’s capacity from 74,000 to 90,000. The report said that the Ineos has set aside funds to accelerate plans to redevelop the stadium.

The redevelopment of Old Trafford has been viewed as a key factor in any takeover of the club, with the stadium having fallen behind those of United’s rivals in recent years. Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have moved to new homes, while Liverpool has carried out extensive redevelopment work at Anfield.

Old Trafford is the largest club stadium in England but it has not been included on the list of host venues for UEFA Euro 2028, which will take place across the UK and Ireland.

In April last year, United appointed Legends International and Populous to lead a team that will be tasked with creating a masterplan for the redevelopment of Old Trafford. Later in the year, United issued a statement announcing the commencement of a process that will consider new investment into the club and a sale. The review also included the redevelopment of Old Trafford.

It later emerged that a demolition of the stadium and the building of a brand-new home was one of the options presented to United. Options to refurbish and expand the stadium were also presented.

Ineos and Ratcliffe have invested heavily in sport in recent years. The company owns French Ligue 1 club OGC Nice and holds a 33-per-cent stake in Formula 1 team Mercedes. Ineos also owns a UCI WorldTour cycling team and backs Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup sailing outfit.