Feyenoord drops plans for a new stadium; Could modernize current facility
This story will be updated.
Feyenoord is abandoning plans to build a new stadium, said the team’s general director, Dennis te Kloese, during a press conference at its current stadium, known as De Kuip. Two additional plans to dramatically renovate the current stadium have also been shelved for the time being, te Kloese and Financial Director Pieter Smorenburg announced.
"It definitely is not possible. It just can’t happen," Te Kloese said. "We are a football club and we are now going to again put the focus on football. I think things can be better in the current Kuip. We will take a good look at that,” he added.
”De Kuip can of course be modernized. We wanted a new stadium, but it really is not feasible. We will continue to play in De Kuip for the time being. That must remain a good experience for everyone. But a large-scale renovation is also not possible."
Kees Lau, the chair of the football club supporters' association, FSV De Feijenoorder, was not surprised by the announcement. "We have seen this coming for years," he said in an initial reaction. "The plan was far too ambitious. Moreover, a ‘bad weather scenario’ was missing. This is good news. Let Feyenoord start thinking about football again quickly."
He said it was pure business. "Sentimentality has never played a role in our perspective. If a new stadium would be the best for the club, we would have been happy to participate in it. But it soon became clear to us that this would take the legs out from under Feyenoord, which could never deliver the desired results. Years ago I said, ‘Stop this.’"
As an architect from Leiden, Lau also considers himself an expert when it comes to new construction or renovation. "What needs to be done now? Put together a good snapshot of De Kuip. What is the state of the stadium, what are the most urgent problems? Then ask yourself how you can get more money out of the stadium. We play football once every 14 days. How can you make money with the stadium on those other 13 days? Several reports have been published about stadiums in Europe."
Much time has been lost, according to Lau. "We are relieved, but we also know that there has been enormous investment in the new stadium plans in recent years. Then we are talking about 30 million euros. That could have been better invested in the maintenance of De Kuip. We quickly put together a cocktail napkin calculation and determined that things would go wrong. The Rotterdam politicians, together with the stadium, have allowed this to carry on this long, and always with a bare minimum majority of 23 votes for it in the city council, to 22 votes against. While it has long been clear that the stadium plan does not had broad support."
Reporting by ANP.