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Dhaka Tribune

World Athletics chief Coe to head Utd task force around new or rebuilt Old Trafford

Ratcliffe's initial conclusion was that a new-build would be the best solution and the club's board is supportive of exploring this route

Update : 10 Mar 2024, 05:42 AM

Manchester United do not plan to leave Old Trafford, the club confirmed Friday, and have appointed Sebastian Coe as chair of a task force to study whether to renovate the 144-year old stadium or build new on adjacent club-owned land.

The Old Trafford Regeneration Task Force comes on the heels of British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe's acquisition of a 27.7% stake in the club.

"This can be a major regeneration project for an area of Greater Manchester which has played such a key role in British industrial history, but which requires new investment to thrive again," Ratcliffe said in a statement.

"The north-west of England has a greater concentration of major football clubs than anywhere else in the world, yet we don't have a stadium on the scale of Wembley, the Nou Camp or the Bernabeu.

"We will not be able to change that on our own, which is why this task force is so important to help us seize this once-in-a-century opportunity."

Ratcliffe's initial conclusion was that a new-build would be the best solution and the club's board is supportive of exploring this route.

Coe is the former chair of the 2012 London Olympics organizing committee and current president of World Athletics.

Other members of the task force include Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Sara Todd, Chief Executive of Trafford Council, and Gary Neville, former captain of United, among others.

United want to be equipped to handle international games and major finals plus provide a modernized home for the club, they said, but were keen to stay in the Old Trafford area to remain rooted to their historic home.

Old Trafford opened in 1910 and last had renovations in 2006.

Ratcliffe committed 237m pounds ($304.50m) of his own money for improvement in infrastructure, though any project would cost considerably more and so the club will explore public-private partners.

"It is very encouraging to see the emphasis being put on fan consultation, and exciting to see the vision and ambition behind this project, not only to put Old Trafford back on among the world's leading football stadiums, but for it to form part of a wider regeneration," said task force member Duncan Drasdo, CEO of Manchester United Supporters Trust.

Old Trafford task force members

Sebastian Coe — chair of the organizing committee for the London 2012 Olympic Games

Andy Burnham — Mayor of Greater Manchester

Sara Todd — Trafford Council CEO

Gary Neville — former United captain

Duncan Drasdo — member of United fans’ advisory board and CEO of Supporters’ Trust

Tom Ross — leader of Trafford Council

Eamonn Boylan — CEO of Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Transport for Greater Manchester

Anna Bensky — associate director of Peel Land

Dame Nancy Rothwell — president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manchester

Malcolm Press — vice-chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University

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