Plans to upgrade transport links around Villa Park after successful Euro 2028 bid


Villa Park was part of the successful bid

The 126-year-old ground is one of 10 stadiums selected to stage the tournament but plans for a £100million revamp, which would see the capacity increased beyond 50,000 and facilities brought up to Uefa standard, have been delayed while Villa wait for authorities to commit to improving access for supporters.

Yesterday’s announcement intensifies the need to move things forward, with Street taking to social media to claim plans to modernise Witton station, which has become badly overcrowded on matchdays, were “progressing”.

The West Midlands Rail Executive and Transport for West Midlands last month commissioned a study to explore the likely costs and options for redevelopment of the station. It is due to report back later in the autumn.

Villa already have the green light for plans which would see a complete rebuild of the North Stand, together with improvements to the Trinity Road Stand. Work is not expected to begin until next summer, with the project likely to take around two years to complete.

Villa Park hosted four matches when England last staged the European Championships in 1996. Wembley and Hampden Park, which are among the other nine stadiums selected as part of the bid, both held matches during the Euro 2020 tournament, which was staged across 11 countries.

The 2028 event will be the first time the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales have ever staged a major football tournament. Other stadiums included for 2028 are Newcastle’s St James’s Park, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Etihad Stadium, Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, Belfast’s Casement Park, Dublin’s Aviva Stadium and Everton’s new stadium in Liverpool.

While the UK and Ireland bid had for a long time been the frontrunner, after Turkey dropped out of the race in order to focus on a joint bid with Italy for the Euro 2032, yesterday’s announcement was still major news.Aston villa team bus hi-res stock photography and images - AlamyThe FA’s chief executive, Mark Bullingham, hailed it a “brilliant day”.

It is unlikely all five host nations will automatically qualify. At this point, all five are expected to enter the qualification process, with one proposal Uefa could reserve two places for any of those who fail to make it through.

Andrew Lovett, chair of the West Midlands Tourism and Hospitality board, believes Villa Park’s inclusion in the plans will provide a boost to the region’s economy.

He said: “Football is a huge draw for inbound tourism in the UK, and extremely valuable to the economy, with more money spent by international football fans than the average overseas visitor to the UK.

“We have shown in the West Midlands – thanks to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and other major sporting fixtures such as The Ashes – that we love hosting world-class sporting events, and always put on a great show for visitors.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.