Belgian Pro League football team Sporting Charleroi has been awarded a building permit by the City of Charleroi to create its new stadium.
The complex will be built at Marchienne-au-Pont on wasteland that was formerly used for steelworks and mining projects. The multi-functional stadium was among the proposals disclosed by the City of Charleroi, with the club previously emphasising the need for a new home when it launched its ‘Horizon 2024’ vision.
The project has subsequently been delayed, mostly owing to the COVID-19 problem, although Sporting hopes to move into their new home in time for the 2026-27 season. The 20,000-seat stadium was designed by French architecture firm Mariotti & Associés and Belgian business Carré 7, and it promises to be a European first with its translucent roof.
Cyril Rousseaux, managing architect at Carré 7, spoke on the design and functions the new stadium will possess.
“This innovative roof will make the Zebrarena unique in Europe, the stands and the pitch will be protected from wind, rain and snow,” he said via media release.
“The Zebrarena will be able to host large concerts without the organiser having to worry about bad weather. In the event of heavy rain, there will be no question of cancellation and that is a huge asset.
“We created an English-style stadium with four closed corners and stands very close to the playing area to allow supporters to be as close as possible to the players, as if they were in the match.”
While the building permission has been awarded, development on the stadium is not scheduled to begin until 2025 since decontamination work on the site is ongoing. The Zebrarena is expected to cost slightly more than $76.6 million, with Sporting and private investors covering the entire cost.
Sporting has played in the Stade du Pays de Charleroi since 1939, and the stadium has been extensively renovated to serve as a host site for Belgium’s co-hosting of UEFA Euro 2000 with the Netherlands. Its capacity for the event was 30,000, however, that has now been reduced to 15,000.