Portsmouth yesterday unveiled plans for the first Premier League stadium designed with a successful British 2018 World Cup bid in mind.
The club’s 36,000-capacity stadium – the creation of the firm which designed Beijing's Olympic Stadium - will see Pompey leave Fratton Park in 2009 after 111 years – is known to be one of the reasons why Harry Redknapp has been reluctant to take leave of the south coast. If the FA Cup holders receive the necessary planning consent, work will start on the new ground next year.
The development would include an indoor exhibition centre/arena with a 10,000 capacity, a new diving training facility for the Royal Navy and a residential, retail and leisure complex.
The scheme is being designed by Swiss-based architects Herzog & de Meuron. In addition to the Olympic Stadium, commonly known as the "Bird's Nest", they also designed the Allianz Arena football stadium in Munich.
There are still some issues to be resolved before the plan could be given the green light, including access to the new site and the impact of the new retail developments. But Portsmouth city council are unlikely to stand in the club’s way and with the finance already in place Pompey do seem ready to match their spending ambitions under the ownership of Sacha Gaydamak with a new stadium and badly needed new training facilities. Fratton Park accommodates just 20,200.
David Williams, chief executive of Portsmouth City Council, said: "Whilst it will be for the planning committee to determine the application, the city council will continue to do its utmost to help the club produce a workable and acceptable scheme.”