Liverpool keen to host GAA matches at Anfield as plans unveiled to increase capacity
Liverpool FC is exploring the potential to host GAA matches at Anfield as part of the newly unveiled plans to expand their Anfield Road stand by adding 7,000 seats in a scheme which will take the ground’s capacity up to 61,000.
Existing planning permission, which had proposed an increase of 4,800, has been allowed to lapse and a new, larger proposal looks set to be formally submitted next spring after two phases of public consultation, the first of which has just begun.
As part of the plans, the club is looking into permanent permission to host concerts and other major sporting events, including both Gaelic games and American football.
Last year, the club was granted a temporary two year license to host up to six concerts and other events per year and will now look to make a more long-lasting agreement with councillors. Last summer, Take That, Bon Jovi and Pink all played at the ground.
The PA news agency understands the scheme will cost in the region of £60million and, unlike the Main Stand refurbishment which was paid for through a £115million loan secured by owners Fenway Sports Group, the money for this project will come from refinancing at a local level.
There is no timescale as yet for the completion of the new stand, which will have small hospitality capacity, with the majority of seats outlined for general admission tickets, and no further development is being considered at this time.
The new plans are on the footprint of the old planning application but a redesign has allowed an increased capacity. The work will mean the partial closure of Anfield Road outside the stadium.
“We are looking at an extra 7,000 seats in the Anfield Road, the old planning application was for 4,800,” Liverpool's chief operating officer Andy Hughes said.
“They are draft numbers at this stage and there is still a lot of work to do but it would take overall capacity of Anfield up to 61,000. We are currently just over 54,000. There is a limited amount of room behind Anfield Road at the moment so there is a short section of road which we will need to close.
“The overall footprint of the build and the overall height is very similar to the the original planning application and that also included a partial closure of Anfield Road.
“There is a limited amount of space if you look at the constraints of the site and the Anfield stadium itself and we have spent a long period of time trying to figure out the best design and how we could get more capacity into the stand.
“I’m not saying it is exactly 61,000 but it is there or thereabouts and it is hard to see where it will go much further than that.”
As part of the first stage of the consultation process Liverpool are holding drop-in events at Anfield on Friday and Monday (4pm to 8pm) and Tuesday (12pm to 4pm).
Belfast Telegraph Digital