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London Irish move step closer to London return

London Irish rugby club’s return to London has moved a step closer, after plans to play at Brentford FC’s proposed new stadium were approved by the local council.

Hounslow Borough Council’s planning committee has approved a rugby licence for the Lionel Road site in Brentford.

London Irish currently play at the Madejski Stadium in a ground-share agreement with Reading Football Club but are keen to move back to the capital.

They have an agreement to remain there unti the 2025/26 season but a get-out clause gives them leeway to move back to London.

Brentford FC, meanwhile, hope to leave their Griffin Park home and move to their new 20,000-capacity stadium in August 2019.

London Irish chief executive Bob Casey said:

The Council’s decision is very encouraging news for London Irish and is a further step towards a return to our roots in London.

The ability for a professional rugby club to also play at the new Brentford Community Stadium has always been a desire of the football club. London Irish share common values and a community ethos with Brentford FC which augurs well for a future commercial relationship.

We now look forward to taking our discussions with Brentford FC to the next stage so that all can look forward to the stadium’s completion and opening by the 2019/2020 season.

London Irish are the current runaway leaders of the Championship and are looking to book their return to the Premiership for next season after a year out of the top flight.