Design & Development

Everton provides stadium update as pitch plan revealed

Featured image credit: Everton

Premier League club Everton has provided an update on construction work at its new stadium, with the pitch preparation set to begin in early May.

Over half of the 52,888 seats have now been fitted at the stadium, which is due to open by the end of 2024 and is costing at least £500m (€585m/$640m) to develop. All of the concrete terracing within the stadium bowl has also been installed.

Work is currently taking place to make the stadium watertight and complete coverings on the east-stand roof. Once the pitch area has been cleared of cranes, work on the pitch itself will be able to begin.

Gareth Jacques, project director at construction manager Laing O’Rourke, said: “We are working to a schedule that means we will finish current works using the pitch area by early May. The masterplan is to be off the pitch by then, which will allow us to get going with the reduced-level dig.

“The pitch area still has all the granular material from the original piling and crane platform underneath, which needs to be dug out. We have some service ducting to install around the perimeter and then some preparatory works to be ready for the specialist contractor to begin the pitch install itself, which should start in June with a programme of works lasting about 20 weeks.”

Laing O’Rourke is continuing to install seats, associated safety railings and balustrades within the stadium bowl. Seat installations are expected to be completed by the summer.

Work is also continuing on sealing the concrete terracing joints with 33km of mastic sealant and finishing off the entry and exit areas of the stadium. This includes the glass balustrading at most of the entrances around the stadium bowl.

Jacques added: “When you are building a football stadium, all the internal works and fit-out are generally underneath the terracing, so getting weathertight is on the critical path.

“Then we still have all the decorative stuff to do. Our supply chain partners Bluecube, who are installing the seats, are also installing the P-Shaped handrails on the terracing.

“Fans will see that they have already started installing seats in the lower tiers. This is because we’ve flipped the sequencing slightly as we coordinate these bowl works with those of other trades working at height in the roof structure above which requires a lot of exclusion zones at bowl level to separate the various work areas.”

Everton announced in December that it will play its first competitive fixtures at its new stadium at the start of the 2025-26 season, but the club stressed that the decision was not because of a construction delay and the venue is still scheduled to be completed in the final weeks of 2024.

Last month, Everton saw its 10-point deduction for breaching Premier League profitability and sustainability rules reduced to six points following an appeal.

Everton was handed the 10-point deduction in November, with the sanction reportedly caused by interest payments for its new stadium. The penalty marked the heaviest points deduction in Premier League history, and Everton immediately launched an appeal against what it felt was a “wholly disproportionate” sanction.

Everton is also cooperating with the Premier League in respect of the ongoing proceedings brought for the accounting period ending in June 2023. In January, Everton and Nottingham Forest acknowledged the league’s decision to refer both clubs over a breach of its profitability and sustainability rules for this period.