Expansion of the Anfield Road End could be affected by Covid-19 outbreak
Liverpool’s planned expansion of the Anfield Road End could be affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. According to the Times, Dr. Zach Binney, an epidemiologist at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, has warned that the return of packed football stadiums could be as long as 18 months away.
“The best guess is about 18 months, could be a little more, could be a little less.”
Until an effective vaccine for COVID-19 is developed, large gatherings involving tens of thousands of people are likely to be a no go. In an industry like football where the crowd is both an atmospheric and economic resource, the implications could be far-reaching.
“Every person you add to a gathering adds risk”
With the season currently in limbo, one of the proposals is to ensure that games are played behind closed doors. It has not been suggested that this scenario could have to play out for months rather than weeks.
“Even if you have really low community-based transmission, it only takes a few people in that crowd of 60,000 for there to be a risk of something very significant happening.”
Coincidentally, 60,000 is the mark Liverpool are supposed to break in stadium capacity following the successful completion of the Anfield Road End.
The expansion would have taken the capacity to 61,000, making Anfield one of the biggest arenas in England and Europe. Our home will only be dwarfed by the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Old Trafford on English shores.
The redevelopment is set to cost the club £60million. Work on the project was supposed to start later this year, with completion scheduled for the summer of 2022.
Liverpool are also constructing a state of the art training complex at Kirkby, the project which was set to be finished this summer has been put on halt under further notice. (h/t Mirror)
It was reported last month that Liverpool are hopeful that the Anfield Road expansion will go ahead as per schedule. (h/t Standard)
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If matches in the near future have to be played in empty or half-filled stadiums, it makes no sense for us to go ahead with the redevelopment at this point in time.
The loss of matchday revenue in such a situation will also hit the club’s finances. It remains to be seen if Dr. Zach Binney’s comments will have any bearing on our plans.