The rugby club London Irish is to move from its current home venue of Reading to Brentford Football Club’s new Brentford Community Stadium when it opens 2020.
Under the deal, London Irish, known as The Exiles have a licence to play at Brentford Community Stadium but Brentford FC have primacy of use. The stadium has been designed to host Premier League football and Premiership rugby and will suit the needs of both clubs.
Construction on the 17,250-seater stadium and associated development commenced in April with the Club’s development partner EcoWorld London, and its stadium subcontractor Buckingham Group, and the club says it is progressing well. Key milestones have been satisfactorily achieved with significant parts of the steel frame and terracing in place. The steel frame for the south stand, the largest, is almost complete and work on the interior elements is progressing. Construction of the steel frame and terracing is now also underway for both the east stand and west stand. Work on the north stand is also expected to start in the next few weeks.
The Brentford Community Stadium development will deliver the stadium together with more than 900 new homes, a new purpose-built location for Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, and a public square with shops and cafes.
Cliff Crown, Brentford FC Chairman, said,
“I’m delighted that we are now able to finally confirm that London Irish will play their matches at Brentford Community Stadium from the 2020/21 season. We are building a high-quality stadium fully equipped and ready from day one for the rigours and demands of both Premier League football and Premiership rugby. Like us, London Irish has a long history in the area and prides itself on having strong roots in the local community. We look forward to continuing to work with them over the coming months to support their successful return to the capital.
“It was always planned that the stadium would host rugby and we have been working on ensuring we have a top-of-the range pitch so both sports can be played. We believe that the deal with London Irish is a good one for Brentford FC both in terms of the fit between our clubs and the financial contribution that will help us to strengthen our on-pitch performance.”
London Irish Owner Mick Crossan added:
“We’re delighted to be moving to the new Brentford Community Stadium with Brentford FC. It has been a long-held ambition to return to our roots in West London, and this stadium has everything we need – location, capacity and facilities – to re-establish ourselves as London’s authentic top-flight rugby club. We can’t wait to start playing there!”
Councillor Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said:
“I am delighted to hear the announcement that London Irish’s new home will be the new Brentford Community Stadium currently under construction. This is great news for the borough, we now not only have an excellent football club in Brentford, we will also now have a fantastic rugby club in the borough too – both with top tier ambitions.
“Both clubs also have the local community at their heart and provide excellent community services for local residents, particularly encouraging young people to take part in sport. I am sure their involvement in the borough will go from strength to strength when the new stadium is open in 2020. I would like to wish both Brentford and London Irish every success for the future.”