Swansea ‘in talks’ over ground expansion

20 Aug

Liberty Stadium

Swansea City’s Liberty Stadium was opened in 2005

Swansea City’s new American owners have revealed they are in talks with Swansea council about expanding the club’s Liberty Stadium home.

Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan led a consortium which bought a 68% controlling stake in the Swans in July.

The council-owned ground’s capacity of 21,000 is the second smallest in the Premier League.

“That is one of the things that is top of our list,” Levien told BBC Wales Sport.

“We just came from a meeting having that discussion about what’s the best opportunity for us to grow the stadium, so more of our fans have the opportunity to witness the incredible action live.

“We are going to spend some time really figuring out what is the right path for us to take.

“There’s a real laser focus on having a great fan experience and, if we’re going to improve the fan experience, we want to do it for more fans.

“Getting more people in this building also helps us with our competitiveness. We think that gives us a competitive edge when other clubs come here and it’s something of a hostile atmosphere.”

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Swansea are initially hopeful of expanding the Liberty Stadium’s capacity to 33,000, with long-term aspirations of seeing the ground hold up to 40,000.

Chairman Huw Jenkins said in July the club would revisit expansion plans which had been shelved in December 2015 after negotiations to buy the ground from Swansea council had stalled.

Now Levien and Kaplan, who will attend the Swans’ first home match of the season against Hull on Saturday, have resumed discussions with the council.

The Liberty Stadium is also home to the Ospreys, and Swansea’s new owners are eager to keep the rugby side involved in negotiations.

Huw Jenkins and Jason Levien<!–

Chairman Huw Jenkins (left) has been retained by Swansea’s US investors in his role as chairman

“I think it’s been a good relationship and we intend to keep it that way,” said Kaplan.

“We’ve developed a relationship with some of the key people there and we think it’s going to be an important dialogue for us to have, along with the council, in figuring out how we go about doing an expansion here.

“There’s going to have to be good communication, dialogue, some study and everyone working together with a mutual goal.”

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