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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 March, 2004, 14:10 GMT
Q & A: Scarlets leave Stradey
Stradey Park has been home to the Scarlets since 1879 and is a ground known to rugby supporters throughout the world. But the club intendeds moving to a new stadium in the town. BBC Wales News Online found out why.

Delme Thomas
There were emotional scenes when Llanelli beat the All Blacks in 1972
What's wrong with Stradey?

The ground has witnessed some of the most famous games in Welsh club rugby including Llanelli's historic win over the New Zealand All Blacks in 1972.

But stricter health and safety rules mean the crowd capacity is now less than 11,000 and there are very limited opportunities for corporate hospitality which can be very profitable for professional clubs.

Road links to the stadium are poor and match days can see the town gridlocked with traffic. Because of the close proximity of residential housing there is little scope to develop the present 16 acre site.

What are the benefits of a new ground?

The new stadium will have a capacity of 15,000 with 12,000 seats and standing for 3,000. Average crowds have risen by 4,000 over the last two seasons to around 7,500 with the club having to turn supporters away at several games this season because they were sold out.

Although the new site is still to be finalised it will be built near better transport links allowing easier access for the large number of supporters who travel from west, mid and north Wales. There will be a shuttle service from the town centre for local fans and safe walking and bike routes.

Plans also involve better training facilities including an indoor area, second flood lit pitch and dormitory for younger players from the region.

Gareth Jenkins and Stuart Gallacher
Gareth Jenkins and Stuart Gallacher outline their plans

How will it be paid for?

The stadium will be built at a cost of around 20m by Carmarthenshire Council, who will then own it. The authority's chief executive Mark James said there will be a large commercial element to the development to help pay for it. The council has started looking at what grants may be available, including European money, although Mr James said the project was not reliant on this.

"There are no insurmountable hurdles that can stop this," he said.

But will happen to Stradey?

The Scarlets sold Stradey Park to the Welsh Rugby Union in 1997 when they had financial difficulties at the start of the professional era. The club has a clause enabling it to buy it back from the WRU for the same price with a small increase for inflation. It will then be redeveloped for other uses.

Scarlets chief executive Stuart Gallacher said: "There are no issues with the WRU. They have been relaxed about it and they are encouraged that a new stadium will be built in Llanelli."

How will fans take the news?

The move has the full backing of Llanelli's director of rugby Gareth Jenkins and that will count for a lot with supporters. But there are bound to be some traditionalist who oppose the move.

Supporters club chairman Jason Richards said: "Personally I'm very excited about it. It's going to be a sad day when we leave Stradey - it's a cracking old stadium but I must emphasize the old. We've got to go forwards and go onwards."


SEE ALSO:
Scarlets to move from Stradey
25 Mar 04  |  South West Wales



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