Upgrades to Catalans’ Gilbert Brutus home started yesterday, and will be finished in time for the 2011 Super League season.
After more than two years of negotiation between the club and public bodies, the renovation works, which include a brand new stand behind the goal with 2500 seats, is now underway.
The works also include a new stadium entrance with ticket office, a bar, a restaurant open daily all year long, club shop of 400 m² (against 80m² now), club administrative offices and meeting rooms, a 400m² hospitality room (instead of the current marquee) and a private box on the top floor.
General manager Christophe Levy said: “Things are not really going our way on the field this season. We have a difficult time with plenty of bad news, injuries (12 players out against Huddersfield last week), Adam Mogg left the club, club captain Thomas (Bosc) unavailable for the first 3 months, Clint Greenshields suffered a broken leg, we also have many players suspended by the RFL (Elima, Casty, Walker, Johnson).
“On the other hand, this tough period allows our young players to show their progress. We played with only 4-5 overseas players the last 3 Super League games which hopefully will be beneficial to our young French talents such as Tony Gigot, Frederic Vaccari, Mickael Simon, William Barthau or David Guasch. They are the future of the Catalans Dragons.
“This has been a long fight between our Chairman Bernard Guasch and the local authorities – (Perpignan maire and Conseil General Président), but we are finally there. Next year, the club will take another dimension once this stand is finished. It will allow us to have other revenues streams to compete with local rugby union clubs and it will give us a comfortable boost to our 2012-2014 Super League license application.
“We are the only Super League club in France and we really feel it when the team results are not very good. We definitely feel the distance of 2000 kms from the north of England. It will come back but we need to start winning some games.
The total cost of the development work is approximately 8m euros (£7m), which follows a further investment of 3.8m euros in the Bonzoms Stand in 2007.