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RFU rejects chance to make Wembley new home of English rugby

The Rugby Football Union is aiming to begin renovations at Twickenham in 2027 after rejecting a proposal to make Wembley the new home of English rugby.

Buying a 50 per cent share in Wembley from the Football Association was considered by the RFU’s board in March last year before the idea was discounted without a formal approach to the FA being made.

“The RFU is focused on continuing to develop Twickenham,” an RFU statement read.

“Previous considerations looking at the viability of moving to alternative sites have been rejected. We do not anticipate major stadium works starting before 2027.”

A 69-page document titled ‘Twickenham Stadium Masterplan Programme’, elements of which have been published in the media, outlines a £663m revamp of the ground that has been England’s home since it was built in 1909.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Jamie George of England goes over the line to score the side's fourth try during the Six Nations Rugby match between England and Italy at Twickenham Stadium on February 12, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Image: England Rugby have played at Twickenham since the stadium was built in 1909

The report states that a renovation of that size is unaffordable but essential works could be completed for a cost in the region of £300m, which would still require a loan.

Beginning the overhaul between the 2027 and 2028 Six Nations would minimise disruption due to the absence of an autumn schedule at Twickenham in a World Cup year.

“Our long-term masterplan for Twickenham is being developed to ensure England’s national rugby stadium stays up to date, is compliant with all relevant regulations, provides the best possible experiences for fans and continues to generate revenue for reinvestment into the community and professional game,” the RFU statement said.

“Work will be undertaken over the next 12 months to consider next stage designs and assess what interventions might take place and when within the existing stadium footprint over the next 10 years.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has banned a former council member from Twickenham over use of racist language
Image: The RFU aims to start work at Twickenham in 2027, with the required funding still to be sought

“The RFU board has not agreed any new re-development plans. However, as you would expect all options will be thoroughly considered as part of a long-term strategy.

“As plans are further developed, the RFU board and council will be fully consulted and engaged in the due diligence and approval process, this would include any potential funding sources.

“As per the RFU constitution, if borrowing of over £150m was needed, council members’ views and approval would be required.”

Sky News
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