Belgium: Last moment opening in Antwerp
source: StadiumDB.com [MK]; author: michał
Final approval came just a few hours before the game. Although delayed, the opening of Tribune 4 of Bosuil proved a success.
Back in early July we’ve shown you the very first images from inside the new south stand (Tribune 4) at Bosuil. Royal Antwerp FC (RAFC) celebrated the great facilities prepared inside, but that didn’t mean readiness for full occupancy.
As it turned out by August, the general contractor (Ghelamco) failed to meet all requirements in time. As a result, the ministry of interior only allowed 2,000 fans to enter the new stand, out of 7,500+ possible. This limit remained in place for three home games (including one Europa League clash), preventing some season ticket holders from using their tickets and hitting RAFC’s matchday revenue.
Only in the passing week were all issues resolved. On Tuesday (Sept 21) the ministry gave its green light (albeit conditional). This paved the way to obtaining local approvals from the police and fire departments. However, time was essential because the next home game was scheduled for Sept 22!
It wasn’t until morning of that day that the last approval was granted, which left RAFC with less than 4 hours to sell tickets for the newly approved seats. In the end, Tribune 4 was full and the hosts defeated KRC Genk 4-2.
The new south end offers over 7,500 places, with the lower tier hosting up to 3,800 standing people. It’s the second grandstand to be fully redeveloped, following the main stand (2017). It was initially scheduled for completion last year, however the ongoing health crisis was among factors leading to delays.
Now, the stadium should lose its oldest portion, the historical east stand. Its current state makes it impossible for further use, so it’s mostly a decorative element. However, floodlight masts in front of it are causing obstructed views to people on the edge of the new south end.
When fully reconstructed, the stadium should hold over 23,000 people. At present, its capacity has grown to just over 16,000.
Author: Michał Karaś