Union Berlin's stadium upgrade pushed forward

Union Berlin's stadium upgrade pushed forward

There could be an extra 13,000 fans at home games in the future.

Jonathan Walsh

With new Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga seating relegations due to be put in lace at the start of next season, 1. FC Union Berlin are pushing forward work on their stadium.

The Stadion An der Alten Försterei, which currently has a 22,012 capacity, including 3,617 seats, needs further work to meet the standards.

It is a move that will see the stadium size increase until around 35,000 and cost in the region of €15m, per kicker.

Stepping up to the mark

The current rules state that 2. Bundesliga clubs must have 3,000 seating places, though this will rise to 4,500 come July 1st, 2017.

There will also be a new quota for teams in the top tier, and 8,000 seats will now be the requisite amount from the same date.

A stadium renovated by the fans in 2009 to meet league requirements then, Union are now in a much better position to afford an expansion.

With their passion and an increase in capacity, it will be an even more intimidatig place to visit than it already is

Zingler has his say

Dirk Zingler, the club president since 2004, announced the news to the Berliner Morgenpost and gave his thoughts on the decision.

"The expansion of the stadium will come faster than we had planned it. A year ago, we put a study on the location of die Alte Försterei in action," he began.

The presdent explained, "A few weeks ago are now already turned into an actual planning. Also because the license conditions have changed."

He continued, "If we get to the Bundesliga, then it will be at der Alten Försterei. For me, then, it is only logically that we have the stadium in an appropriate shape.

"But die Alte Försterei will remain die Alte Försterei, therefore we want to find the right balance. Character comes before quatity," Zingler said.