Manchester United has formed a collaborative task force to explore options for revitalising the Old Trafford area, with a focus on constructing a world class football stadium.

The Premier League club has named its ‘Old Trafford Regeneration Task Force’, a team of local leaders and national experts who will explore how stadium development can catalyse the renewal of a historically significant area in the city, driving social and economic benefits for the entire region.

Former Chair of the organising committee for the 2012 London Olympics Lord Sebastian Coe, will Chair the task force. As part of its responsibilities, the team will evaluate the viability of constructing a new stadium of national significance, which will be capable of hosting international events and finals, while also serving as a modernised venue for Manchester United.

Lord Coe said: “Throughout my career in sport, I have seen the potential for stadiums to become focal points for strong communities and catalysts for social and economic development. 

“That was certainly true of the venues we built in east London for the 2012 Olympics, and we are overdue a project of similar scale and ambition in the north of England. I am honoured to have this opportunity to share my experience in support of this tremendously exciting project.”

In addition to Lord Coe, other members will include Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Sara Todd, Chief Executive of Trafford Council and Gary Neville, former captain of Manchester United.

The project will work in synergy with Trafford Council’s ‘Trafford Wharfside Framework’, aiming to revitalise the area between Trafford Park and the banks of Salford Quays as well as supporting the ‘levelling up’ agenda, which looks to drive investment in the north of England.

Burnham stated: “The development of one of the most iconic stadiums in world football will help attract investment, create jobs, and lead to new opportunities that will not just benefit Trafford but communities across our city-region and beyond. 

“Greater Manchester has been a hive of innovation and creativity for centuries, and sport has played a huge role in shaping our past and present. This bold and exciting vision for the future of Old Trafford and the surrounding area can become another success story for our city-region.”

The concept to construct a new Old Trafford has sparked debate among fans of the Manchester club, with some expressing reluctance to see the iconic stadium demolished. However, its new Co-Owner, Sir Jim Ratcliffe has remained adamant in his vision to create a “Wembley of the North.”

“I’m incredibly fortunate to have had the privilege of playing hundreds of games at Old Trafford, and no one can take away those amazing memories. But Old Trafford has evolved throughout its history and it’s clear we are at a point where it has to change again to ensure that Manchester United has a world-class stadium befitting the world’s greatest club,” Neville stated. 

“While I want the best for Manchester United, I also want the same for the surrounding community. Old Trafford should be a stadium that the whole of Greater Manchester can take pride in, and be a catalyst for sustainable, cohesive growth in an area of the city that has been neglected for too long.”

Working hand in hand with the government, the project to refurbish Old Trafford has evolved into a broader initiative aimed at improving the surrounding area. With a new stadium alone estimated to cost £2bn, Manchester United’s Co-Owner believes that without government support the project lacks viability. 

In an interview with the BBC last month, Ratcliffe emphasised that his £1.25bn investment into Manchester United represented more than a financial endeavour as he is committed to restoring the club to its rightful position among football’s elite. 

Ratcliffe remarked: “This can be a major regeneration project for an area of Greater Manchester which has played such a key role in British industrial history, but which today requires new investment to thrive again. 

“The north-west of England has a greater concentration of major football clubs than anywhere else in the world, yet we don’t have a stadium on the scale of Wembley, the Nou Camp or the Bernabéu. We will not be able to change that on our own, which is why this task force is so important to help us seize this once-in-a-century opportunity.”

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