Bristol Rovers South Stand development nears completion

The Memorial Stadium, home to English football league club Bristol Rovers FC, is set to open its reconstructed South stand.

The ground is recognised by many as one of England’s most unique, owing to its six-stand design which includes the previously tented South and Southwest stands, and two uncovered sections on the stadium’s Eastern side.

In April 2023, Club President Wael Al Qadi revealed that the tented stands would be merged under one solid-roof structure, not only helping the durability and aesthetics of the stadium, but providing fans with a more accessible football experience.

Presently, the club is poised to open the now-combined stand, releasing photographs on the club’s website that show the successful execution of its design plan.

The fitting out of the stand’s first ever concourse, which will include toilets and other facilities, is ongoing and requires building control sign-off before the club begins test events. A meeting with a Safety Advisory Group will determine whether or not fans can purchase an allocation of tickets.

Completion of these tests will enable the stand to be fully operational.

Known by its supporters as ‘The Mem’, the ground has hosted rugby matches since 1921 and accommodated Rovers’ football exploits since 1996.

However, the club’s tenancy has been fraught by controversy when it comes to upgrading the stadium.

In 2007, Rovers’ announced plans to turn the stadium into an all-seater venue, but the effects of the Global Financial Crisis meant project partners had to pull out of the development plan.

By 2011, the club re-focused its plans to build a new stadium elsewhere, with The Memorial Stadium site to be sold to British supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s.

Yet, the latter pulled out of the deal to develop on The Mem site, a decision that was upheld despite Rovers appealing it via the high court.

The current construction phase has also had hiccups, with planning permission delayed due to residential concerns and continued discussion of constructing a stadium elsewhere; though these plans never came to fruition.

Despite this, the near completion of the South stand is likely to deliver as much relief as it does joy for Rovers’ fans, who will be eager to christen the area whilst the club continues its League One campaign.

Graduates congratulated after completing FIFA Diploma in Club Management program

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has congratulated the 2024 graduates of the FIFA Diploma in Club Management course at FIFA headquarters, which include former Socceroo Tim Cahill and former Manchester City player Fernandinho.

Since its launch in 2021, the FIFA Diploma in Club Management has become a networking platform for senior club executives to share knowledge about the industry insights essential for successful football club management. The 18-month course is comprised of six-course models, each covering important topics and aspects of club management.

The topics which are covered in this course are leadership and management, sporting strategy and youth academies, marketing and communication, club operations and stadium management, governance and legal matters and finance.

Infantino spoke to the attendees of the graduation ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland:

“The course’s aim was to encourage knowledge and best practice exchange to be able to ensure football’s continued growth and health worldwide,” he said in a statement.

“You understand that club football is crucial for the development and the survival of football in all countries of the world.

“That is what we have to foster and what we have to work on, and to do this, you have to be well-equipped and well-prepared, and this is our aim at FIFA: to give you this preparation, to give you this equipment, to open the doors of FIFA here in Zurich and everywhere in the world.

“Our doors are open for you to come and exchange with us, and also to exchange between yourselves.”

The graduates of the second edition of the FIFA Diploma in Club Management started back in September 2022 in New York where they attended lectures given by the likes of FIFA Chief of Global Football Development Arsène Wenger and FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer Sarai Berman and their final project of the course was a strategy plan which was presented before the graduation.

The third edition of the program began in May 2024 and is headed by FIFA Director of Professional Football Ornella Desirée Bellia. Some of the participants who are involved include former Juventus player Giorgio Chiellini and Como 1907 coach Cesc Fàbregas alongside club owners, CEO’s and sporting directors.

Soccerscene celebrates sixth-year anniversary

Soccerscene is celebrating its sixth anniversary as Australia’s business-to-business publication for the football community.

Since its inception, Soccerscene has committed to the highest standards of reporting on the most pressing topics surrounding the world of sports business. We have been the first port of call for potential buyers and sellers and deliver all the first-hand news – including interviews, discussions, product reviews, case studies and insight into all facets of the growing Australian and international football market.

Here at Soccerscene, we can’t celebrate six years without thanking all our readers, followers and the numerous industry and club communities for helping us along the way.

Special thanks goes to our major partners including Football Coaches Australia, Professional Footballers Australia and Box2Box – your constant support has been crucial to all we have achieved over these last six years.

Thank you to everyone and we are excited for the future years ahead in this constantly developing industry – from all us at Soccerscene.

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