ROVERS UN­VEIL PLAN TO UP­GRADE THE MEM

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE PREVIEW - By Richard Dore

IT’S ON to Plan B for Bris­tol Rovers, who will be stay­ing at the Me­mo­rial Sta­dium for the time be­ing ac­cord­ing to owner Wael Al-Qadi.

Fol­low­ing the break­down of ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the club and the Univer­sity of the West of Eng­land over a pro­posed new sta­dium, Al-Qadi con­firmed on Tues­day that the Me­mo­rial Sta­dium will be re­de­vel­oped in­stead and that the club will no longer be seek­ing out new sites.

Rovers’ chair­man Steve Hamer stated last week that the col­lapsed UWE deal has cost the club hun­dreds of thou­sands of pounds, but the Qatari spoke ro­bustly about the new plans.

“We’ve al­ways had a fall­back plan,” said Al-Qadi. “That is to look into re­gen­er­a­tion of the Mem, it’s a beau­ti­ful piece of land – spa­cious.

“I be­lieve there were two sets of plan­ning per­mis­sions in the past for the Mem to be built up into a proper sta­dium which of­fers fan­tas­tic fa­cil­i­ties for our sup­port­ers; that’s what we want to do now.

“Our aim is to pro­vide sup­port­ers with modern, beau­ti­ful fa­cil­i­ties to watch great foot­ball in.

“Very soon we’ll try to re­con­vene and try to cre­ate a struc­ture for this project to func­tion on its own – so our le­gal ad­vi­sors and project man­agers can get ac­count of what’s needed and move for­ward.”

Al-Qadi’s fam­ily bought Rovers in Fe­bru­ary 2016, but with the UWE deal be­ing un­com­pleted for some time ru­mours have cir­cled amongst fans about whether the fam­ily will pull out of the club, with Al-Qadi bat­ting those claims away.

“I’m not run­ning away, I’m here talk­ing,” said the club owner. “Open to all ques­tions, open to all queries, just an open book.

“Ob­vi­ously we wouldn’t go and talk to UWE, or talk about re­gen­er­at­ing the Mem, if funding is an is­sue. It’s not Dooms­day for the club.”

PLANS: Wael Al-Qadi

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