Sheffield Wednesday have been informed that a £22 million plan to redevelop their home stadium, Hillsborough, has been approved by local authorities.
The Championship club said that the refurbishment would raise capacity at the stadium from the current 39,000 to 45,000 when the changes are completed in 2013. A new 'iconic' roof structure will be added to the Kop stand, while covering will also be provided on top of the West Stand. A special educational zone – described as "the biggest classroom in the country" – will be built into the North stand, which will also house 17 new corporate boxes. The stadium will also be turned into a 'green stadium', through "rainwater harvesting and solar cell technology".
Wednesday chairman Lee Strafford said of the plans: "All fans would agree that Hillsborough is in need of investment and we are happy to present plans that will improve the fan experience, boost the club’s revenue generating capabilities and also strengthen our ties with the local community."
The cost of the project will be covered by the club's existing business plan, with funding to come from "a combination of increased club revenue streams and government grants." The initial part of the project, required to meet Fifa's requirements for a World Cup venue, will cost UK£9.8 million.
In a statement the club said: "We believe Hillsborough would be an impressive venue to play host to the world's best in 2018, although the changes we are planning will be delivered even if Hillsborough is not chosen as a host stadium." Hillsborough was one of the venues when England hosted the European Championship in 1996.