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Last Updated: Friday, 6 June, 2003, 15:44 GMT 16:44 UK
Morfa Stadium gets go-ahead
Morfa Stadium
Work will start on the new Morfa Stadium this year
Work on Swansea's long-awaited new 20,000 all-seater sports stadium will start this year.

Swansea Council and developers Capital and Regional have reached an agreement for construction of the new Morfa Stadium to begin.

A retail and leisure park will be built to generate funds to make it possible for the council to build the arena.

It is hoped that work will get under way in October with the completion due in autumn 2005.

Today's announcement is the best news that the club and our supporters have had for over 20 years
Swans board of directors

The 24m stadium will be home to Swansea City Football Club and the new regional rugby team for Swansea and Neath.

It is hoped it will also host regional, national and international sporting events, and pop and classical music concerts.

Council leader Lawrence Bailey said, "Swansea needs and deserves a modern sports stadium where talent flourishes and spectators enjoy all the facilities of a 21st century stadium.

'Treasured memories'

"The deal has been achieved by a huge amount of hard work and negotiation, and the sporting and economic benefits will be immense.

"We have one of the most exciting waterfront developments in Europe, Wales's National Swimming Pool, the National Waterfront Museum, an exciting leisure scheme in Wind Street and now Britain's latest sports stadium."

Friday's announcement was welcomed by the Swans who will leave their city centre Vetch Field ground when the new stadium is completed.

A statement issued by the club's board of directors said: "Today's announcement is the best news that the club and our supporters have had for over 20 years.

"We can look forward to the commencement of work on the site and, more importantly, to the Swans playing at a 21st Century stadium in the near future.

"Everyone will always have treasured memories of the Vetch.

Sports village

"When the time comes to move there will be more than a few tears shed but we will be moving onwards and upwards and the club will be stronger and more sustainable."

The existing Morfa Stadium will be demolished to make way for the all-seater stadium and retail and leisure complex.

The plans also include the construction of a new sports village to provide a centre of excellence alongside the Wales National Swimming Pool at the University of Wales, Swansea.

Capital and Regional board director Andrew Lewis-Pratt said: "We are delighted to have reached this point in these intense and complex negotiations and we are fully committed to helping to provide a fantastic sports stadium in Swansea."

Plans for Morfa Stadium development were first unveiled in the late 1990s when it was hoped it would be built by 2001.

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