Brentford say they cannot ‘reliably forecast’ when their new stadium at Lionel Road will be complete as the coronavirus shutdown forces a ‘dramatic scaling back’ of works on the ground.
The Bees are due to leave their current home at Griffin Park at the end of this season and were expected to complete their move to the new Brentford Community Stadium in July.
The final game at Griffin Park, barring a possible play-off semi-final, was set to be against Barnsley on May 2, but the EFL season has been suspended indefinitely because of the outbreak and if it is able to resume, is expected to go on into the summer months.
While Standard Sport understands there is no real concern about the new 18,500-seater stadium being ready in time for the start of next campaign, whenever that should be, government measures brought in to tackle the spread of the virus have hindered progress at the site, which was due to reach Practical Completion this month.
An open letter from the club hierarchy to fans explained: “Last week Buckingham Group, Stadium Principal Contractor to the developer, Eco World, had to take the serious, but prudent decision, to urgently pause the bulk of the works underway to allow time for the position to be assessed.
“At its recent peak over 400 people were travelling to and from work on the stadium site each day. In light of current Government Covid-19 Guidelines, Buckingham Group have now decided that it is imperative that they dramatically scale back activity at the stadium site for the present and this has been implemented.”
The situation is to be reviewed in two weeks’ time, with priority being given for now to essential works concerning the safety of the site, such as security and the completion of unfinished electrical installations.
The letter added: “Given the evolving situation regarding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic it is not possible at this stage to reliably forecast when the new stadium will be fully complete.”
Despite the delays, Brentford will continue with their season ticket migration process, which has been functioning online and via telephone for the past fortnight and is on course to have allocated all current holders seats at the new ground by the start of next week.
“To date we have sold more than 6,000 Season Tickets and a further 950 Premium Season Tickets in the area known as The Dugout,” the letter said. “Once we have completed selling to our existing Season Ticket holders, we will move on to contacting our 6,000 Members followed by supporters on our 4,000-strong waiting list.
“We are confident we will have a record number of Season Ticket holders when we move into our New Home.”