We were expecting a full design presentation, that didn't happen. But key features of the new Sporting Charleroi stadium have been presented. It could become the first ground Europe's top leagues to be fully covered, without a sliding roof.
Along the recent announcement, this week was supposed to bring us the presentation of official stadium design for Sporting Charleroi. There was no such presentation, however the club did not leave their fans with nothing.
Key elements of the scheme were presented, including scale and features of the stadium, its mobility study and environmental impact analysis.
The arena might prove quite innovative as it might be the only one in Europe to include a full cover over the field as well as a natural playing field. Such combination has so far only been used in New Zealand's Forsyth Barr Stadium, which was named as inspiration for this project. While protected from the elements, the stadium wouldn't be entirely opaque, ensuring ventilation is sufficient.
The stadium, now loosely estimated to cost €60 million, would hold 20,000 people. Its stands are to be divided into two continuous tiers, although these would merge into one in the north, creating a large 'spion kop' stand for 4,000 people. VIP and hospitality areas will not only be located within the west stand, as is customary, but also in the south end. In total, 2,500 premium seats are planned, with lounges for conference use.
Sporting's new home will be served by metro (existing directly next to the planned venue, above ground), light rail (11-minute walk) and even possibly a ferry! Also, a cycling path from the centre will be created to the stadium. Along with very good road access (though parking will only accommodate a fraction of all visitors) this represents a very solid plan for a stadium of such size.
Further fate of the stadium will depend on how it's welcomed by citizens from three affected boroughs/communes and various institutions. While amendments are to be expected, they shouldn't include a significant change within the stadium plan itself.