Manchester United confirm 'new stadium' plans as Lord Sebastian Coe and Gary Neville join taskforce

Manchester United confirm 'new stadium' plans as Lord Sebastian Coe and Gary Neville join taskforce

Manchester United have announced that a taskforce has been set up to explore the possibility of building a “new stadium of national significance”.

Lord Sebastian Coe, the former head of the organising committee for the 2012 London Olympics, will chair the group, with members of the ‘Old Trafford Regeneration Task Force’ also including Gary Neville and Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has made clear his desire for United to have a new stadium, one that would "serve the north of England”, believing there is a clear need to regenerate the area.

The United co-owner has now covened a ten-strong taskford to explore how a new stadium, “equipped to host international games and finals, as well as providing a modernised home for Manchester United”, would support the Old Trafford area of the city.

Ratcliffe said in a statement: “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 today requires new investment to thrive again.

“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.”

United will not move away from the site of their current home, instead studying options to build a new stadium on adjacent club-owned land or to redevelop Old Trafford.

“Throughout my career in sport, I have seen the potential for stadiums to become focal points for strong communities and catalysts for social and economic development,” Lord Coe said.

“That was certainly true of the venues we built in east London for the 2012 Olympics, and we are overdue a project of similar scale and ambition in the north of England.”

Neville has criticised the Glazer family in recent seasons, insisting United need significant investment to improve the stadium.

He will sit on the taskforce, which will reportedly provide recommendations later this year with Ratcliffe keen for the process to be a swift one.

“I’m incredibly fortunate to have had the privilege of playing hundreds of games at Old Trafford, and no one can take away those amazing memories,” Neville said.

“But Old Trafford has evolved throughout its history and it’s clear we are at a point where it has to change again to ensure that Manchester United has a world-class stadium befitting the world’s greatest club. While I want the best for Manchester United, I also want the same for the surrounding community.

“Old Trafford should be a stadium that the whole of Greater Manchester can take pride in, and be a catalyst for sustainable, cohesive growth in an area of the city that has been neglected for too long.”