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Cardiff City Stadium ( ) is a 26,828 all-seated ground in the Leckwithmarker area of the city, which is the home of Cardiff City Football Club who previously played at Ninian Parkmarker. Owned and operated by Cardiff City F.C., the stadium also hosts the home matches of the Cardiff Blues rugby union team until 2029. After the Millennium Stadiummarker, it is the second largest stadium in Cardiffmarker and in Walesmarker. The stadium is part of the Leckwith development. A branded sponsor name will be assigned as and when the naming rights sell. The stadium was officially opened on 22 July 2009, with Cardiff City playing a friendly match against Celtic.

Overview

The stadium was built on the site of the former Cardiff Athletics Stadiummarker and forms part of the larger Leckwith Development. The development will cost £100m and include construction of the following:
  • A new 26,828 seater stadium
  • A new Cardiff International Sports Stadiummarker
  • 470,000 sq ft retail development between 13 major retailers
  • A housing development on the site of Ninian Parkmarker
  • Brand new 70 room hotel with bar & restaurant
  • A new road system


Planning

First mooted as a long term target by former owner Sam Hammam, the new stadium first gained public approval after a meeting between Hammam and then Cardiffmarker Lord Mayor Russell Goodway in January 2002, giving the club 12 months to agree a planning and business plan. In November 2002 the club and the council signed an outline agreement for the development, subject to later agreement for outline planning permission.

In March 2003, stories began to emerge that the Chief Executive of the Millennium Stadiummarker wanted Cardiff City to use their stadium instead, and saw no viable plan for two 50,000+ seat capacity stadium in the Welsh capital This was increased in light of Cardiff City's promotion to the Championship in May 2003 with local fears over traffic and access problems.

However, on 20 August 2003 Cardiff councillors gave unanimous approval to the stadium plans, although expressed concerns over the need and scale of the retail development but understood its need to fund the stadium. On 9 September 2003 the Welsh Assembly gave approval to the plan.

In April 2004, Cardiff Council gave the first phase covering the stadium with a capacity of 30,000 seats and new athletics track approval. The next phase was held up by various legal and technical delays from November 2004 to January 2005, when the council gave approval to three detailed plans for the retail development, subject to agreement of suitable underlying business plans.

Although development could have then started in May 2005, the underlying need for seed financing revealed the financial status of Cardiff City football club as poor, with over £30 million of debt and the need to sell star player and club captain Graham Kavanagh to Wigan Athletic F.C. in March 2005. It was also revealed that players and staff had not been paid for a month as the club struggled to honour a wage bill believed to be £750,000 a month, while auditors were looking at possible cutbacks. On 1 March 2005 the club delayed the development until at least July 2005.

After a 1-0 home loss to Sheffield United and a mobbing by fans, on 6 March 2005 Hammam apologised to fans, and released club accounts which showed club debt at March 2004 at £29.6 million. Effectively, this was the start of the end of the Hammam era at Cardiff City, as he could not fund the required development.

After a summer sale of players, the entry of former Leeds United chairman Peter Ridsdale and numerous rumours, the development was given a 90 day time period by Cardiff Council from 31 December 2005 to finalise the underlying business plan. On 31 January 2006 the developers secured Asda as the lead retailer of the new development, which enabled the final funding of the stadium to start. This allowed the council timetable to extend by four months to September 2006.

On 24 October 2006 Laing O'Rouke won the contract to develop the 30,000 seat stadium, which Ridsdale stated would be ready for December 2008. On 27 November 2006 Cardiff Council approved the business plan for the stadium, allowing the final planning approval to be gained from the council authority and the office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

In March 2007, the stadium plans were altered to allow construction to begin as soon as possible. To minimise construction costs, the 30,000 capacity was reduced to 25,000 by removing three-quarters of the second tier of seating, however the plans allow the option of completing the second tier to reach the 30,000 capacity if required . The former chairman of Cardiff City, Steve Borley, said in March 2008 that "We are working to raise the capacity and right now it stands at 26,830. The task is to raise that even further, and we believe it could be almost 28,000 when the stadium opens."

When work finally commenced Peter Ridsdale stated that he expected the stadium to be ready by Christmas 2008 but it was finally completed in May 2009. Although some believe this slight delay was caused by Cardiff City's ongoing legal action with Langston, it was actually caused by unexpectedly poor weather during the summer of 2007.

Construction

Land clearance started on 21 February 2007, while on 9 May, final finances were put in place for Laing O'Rourke to bring equipment on site and start construction.

Developers and contractors

The lead developer was PMG Developments, a Cardiff based property developer led by Cardiff City director Paul Guy and former Wales rugby captain Mike Hall. Laing O'Rourke were contracted to build all the highway improvements necessary to cope with the increased capacity, as well as the demolition of the Cardiff Athletics Stadium and the construction of the retail park. Cowlin was picked as the preferred contractor for the new athletic stadium. Required analysis of soil and water for the site was performed by TES Bretby, part of the Environmental Services Group Ltd.

Schedule

Leckwith Road was widened to a dual carriageway over 18 months, with the scheme allowing for an extra access lane to become available on matchdays.

The plan required the demolition of the previous Cardiff Athletics Stadium, of which the council insisted the replacement is built before the start of construction on the new football stadium. This was to avoid the city being without a major athletics facility for any length of time.

Work was scheduled to begin on the new athletics stadium in January 2007 with the track and throwing areas expected to be open for use by the end of July 2007. The new athletics stadium was expected to be completed by October 2007 and it was hoped that Cardiff City F.C.'s stadium would be able to open in December 2008, however the stadium finally completed in May 2009.

Detailed timetable

  • 27 November 2006: Stadium business plan approved by Cardiff Council
  • November 2006: Three-month period began for possible legal challenge to deal. The council also had to receive approval from the National Assembly for disposal of the Leckwith land at less than market value.
  • Early 2007: Work started.
  • Early Spring 2007: Building of the retail park begin along with the major highways works around Leckwith Road.
  • Summer 2007: New athletics track finished around the middle of the summer.
  • October 2007: Commence main contract works.
  • Christmas 2007: Complete demolition works.
  • January 2007: Commence piling.
  • March 2007: Commence steelwork.
  • Summer 2008: Commence cladding.
  • Autumn 2008: Complete structure.
  • October 2008: West stand weathertight.
  • Christmas 2008: Fit-out access.
  • January 2009: Power on.
  • May 2009: Stadium completed.


Joint football and rugby

On 19 September 2007 it was announced that Cardiff Blues and Cardiff City F.C. had signed a Heads of Terms agreement for Cardiff Blues to become tenants of Cardiff City. On 24 May 2008, the two clubs signed a contract officially finalising the deal. The license agreement was set at 20 years, meaning Cardiff Blues will play their home games at the stadium until 2029.

Naming rights

Inevitably, the commercial needs for funding will probably mean that the stadium gains a sponsor's name. An early option was the sale to lifelong Bluebirds supporter Mike Young, the creator of the children's animation series SuperTed.

In August 2007, chairman Peter Ridsdale revealed that the club had reduced a £24 million debt to Swissmarker based financiers Langston agreed under the chairmanship of Sam Hammam to £15 million, by agreeing to sell the stadium's naming rights to Langston for £9 million.

The stadium name was unveiled in March 2009 as Cardiff City Stadium.

Official opening

Action from the official opening match between Cardiff City and Celtic on 22 July 2009


The stadium was completed several weeks ahead of schedule and was officially opened with a pre-season friendly against Celtic on 22 July 2009. There were two games played in the stadium prior to this: a Cardiff City Legends game on 4 July, and a friendly against Chasetown on 10 July. The first league game was played on 8 August 2009, a 4–0 win for Cardiff against Scunthorpe United.

Transport

The stadium and surrounding area is served by Ninian Park railway stationmarker (on the Cardiff City Line) on one side of Sloper Road, by and Grangetown railway stationmarker (on the Vale of Glamorgan Line) on the other side. Trains operate frequently to Centralmarker and Queen Streetmarker stations in the City Centremarker.

Cardiff Bus service 95 between Central Station and Barry Islandmarker stops outside the stadium.

The stadium is next to Leckwith Interchange on the A4232 dual carriageway, linking it northbound to the A48 and M4 and southbound to Cardiff Baymarker and the City Centre.

Statistics

  • Capacity: 26,828
  • Record Attendance: 25,630 Cardiff City vs Newcastle United, 13 September 2009
  • Record attendance for a Cardiff City match: 25,630 vs Newcastle United, 13 September 2009.
  • First international game held: Wales vs Scotland, 14 November 2009.


See also



References

  1. Cardiff City Stadium: Logo Launch
  2. Cardiff Blues: New Landmark at Cardiff City Stadium
  3. WAG: First Minister visits new Cardiff dual code stadium
  4. Cardiff Blues Fans Urged to Walk the Blue Mile
  5. BBC SPORT | Wales | Cardiff teams agree ground share
  6. BBC News Celtic to open new Cardiff ground
  7. Cardiff City 0-0 Celtic
  8. BBC News | WALES | Hamman's stadium plan challenge
  9. BBC NEWS | Wales | Hammam scores stadium plan win
  10. BBC NEWS | Wales | Tug-of-war over Cardiff stadia
  11. BBC NEWS | Wales | Traffic worries over stadium plan
  12. BBC NEWS | Wales | Cardiff stadium gets green light
  13. BBC NEWS | Wales | Road clear for Bluebirds' stadium
  14. BBC NEWS | Wales | South East Wales | Cardiff's stadium takes next step
  15. BBC NEWS | Wales | Stadium retail plans held up
  16. BBC NEWS | Wales | South East Wales | Work on stadium 'to start in May'
  17. BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Cardiff City | Wigan complete Kavanagh signing
  18. BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Cardiff City | Cardiff stadium work put on hold
  19. BBC NEWS | Wales | South East Wales | Club's deadline over new stadium
  20. BBC NEWS | Wales | South East Wales | 'Watershed' for city stadium deal
  21. BBC NEWS | Wales | South East Wales | Extra time for football stadium
  22. BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Cardiff City | Cardiff set out new stadium plans
  23. BBC NEWS | Wales | South East Wales | New boost for Bluebirds' stadium
  24. BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Cardiff City | Cardiff reduce stadium capacity
  25. icWales.co.uk | Cardiff director Borley put a figure on new stadium
  26. BBC NEWS | Wales | South East Wales | City ground 'delayed to May 2009'
  27. BBC NEWS | Wales | South East Wales | Work starts on Bluebirds stadium
  28. BBC NEWS | Wales | South East Wales | Final go-ahead for city stadium
  29. Stadium Trivia | Official Stadium Website
  30. CITY AND BLUES SIGN STADIUM CONTRACT | Cardiff City | News | Club News | Club News
  31. Phillips, Terry SuperTed stadium? South Wales Echo - 19 July, 2006
  32. BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Cardiff City | Cardiff chief rejects debt claim
  33. [1]
  34. Celtic to open new Cardiff ground, BBC Sport.
  35. http://www.projectmapping.co.uk/Reviews/Resources/Valley%20lines%20(TR%20UK%20508).jpg
  36. http://www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk/uploadedFiles/Documents/Timetables/Timetable%20expDec09.pdf
  37. http://www.cardiffbus.com/pdfs/r95.pdf


External links




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