Glasgow’s Scotstoun Stadium is set for a major upgrade to ensure it retains its position as a centre of excellence for rugby and athletics and continues to meet the needs of the wider sporting community.
Councillors on Glasgow City Council’s Executive Committee will this week be asked to approve the investment works, which will see a synthetic playing surface installed, improve athletics and rugby training facilities, create a new events throws area and improve the existing outdoor running track.
The existing grass infield at Scotstoun Stadium has been badly affected during recent winters with heavy rainfall rendering it unplayable for long periods. During the 2015/16 rugby season Glasgow Warriors were unable to play three matches at Scotstoun and a fourth game was postponed, while there was little or no use by athletics clubs due to the weather.
The proposed artificial pitch, which will meet World Rugby guidelines, will significantly reduce the risk of Glasgow Warriors fixtures being postponed. It will also increase the use of the infield for athletics during club sessions. Improvements to the adjacent training pitch will also provide an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) compliant throws area for training and events.
Cardiff Blues, Saracens and Newcastle Falcons have already made the switch to artificial surfaces in recent seasons, while Worcester Warriors also plan to change this summer
As part of the planned investment, the existing 400m outdoor running track will be improved along with associated drainage works. The improvements will also benefit Victoria Park City of Glasgow Athletics Club and increase the current window for athletics events (April to September as opposed to June to August).
The project will be funded by Glasgow City Council, Scottish Rugby/Glasgow Warriors and sportscotland.
If approved and subject to contracts being finalised, work will commence later this month, with completion expected ahead of the 2016/17 rugby season. While predominantly for use by the athletics and rugby communities, a programme for wider community use is being developed.
Speaking to glasgowwarriors.org, Glasgow Warriors Head Coach, Gregor Townsend, said:
It’s fantastic news that we’re close to securing a brand new pitch at Scotstoun for next season.
We’ve played a lot on the Cardiff Arms Park surface over the last few years and we enjoyed playing on the Rugby Park pitch last season.
We aim to play high tempo rugby and this state-of-the-art artificial surface will help us produce a faster game.
Glasgow Warriors Managing Director, Nathan Bombrys, said:
After the challenges of last season, it’s great that we’re close to installing a pitch that will give us a consistently excellent surface all season, to play the exciting rugby that we like to play.
The development will benefit the athletics clubs that we share Scotstoun with us, by providing better facilities and more access.
We believe the new artificial pitch could also open up opportunities to bring some additional rugby matches and events to Scotstoun, which will assist our efforts to grow our sport in the west of Scotland.
Scottish Rugby’s Chief Operating Officer, Dominic McKay, said:
Scottish Rugby has made a significant investment towards this new artificial pitch, to ensure we have the best possible surface for our players to train and play on.
We see this investment as part of a longer term development of the stadium, which we are working closely with Glasgow Life on and we believe this new pitch will be an excellent addition for rugby and athletics, while helping to safeguard future Glasgow Warriors matches.
Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor Archie Graham OBE, said:
Over the years Scotstoun Stadium has been the scene of some incredible sporting moments. This investment would ensure that this remains the case for years to come, providing a lasting legacy for future generations.
The planned improvements will meet the very highest standards set by both World Rugby and the IAAF. It will provide Glasgow Warriors and the local athletics community with access to enhanced provision all year round, while at the same time benefitting other local sports clubs and schools.
Interim Chief Executive of scottishathletics, Mark Munro, said:
We welcome these recommendations from Glasgow City Council and the partnership approach to Scotstoun, following many discussions.
It will be pleasing to see investment in the facility which will improve the athletics provision in terms of the new throws area and an improved track surface. And we’re delighted to note the commitment to use for clubs, coaches and athletes as well as an opportunity during a certain period to stage events.