London Irish Gain Permission to Play Rugby at Lionel Road
Rugby club plan to play their home fixtures at Lionel Road from 2019
A Hounslow Council planning committee meeting has given the go ahead for London Irish to stage rugby matches at Brentford FC's planned stadium at Lionel Road. The original planning permission for the ground and its enabling development had specifically excluded rugby being played at the stadium.
The Championship rugby club were relegated last season but are widely expected to regain their place in the top division of the sport this year. They potentially could attract crowds larger than currently attend Brentford matches at Griffin Park.
London Irish have issued a statement saying, “The ability for a professional rugby club to also play at the new Brentford Community Stadium has always been a desire of the football club. London Irish share common values and a community ethos with Brentford FC which augurs well for a future commercial relationship.
“We now look forward to taking our discussions with Brentford FC to the next stage so that all can look forward to the stadium's completion and opening by the 2019/2020 season.”
The rugby club announced last August that they were in discussions with Brentford FC about playing their matches in the 20,000 capacity stadium which the club hope to open in 2019.
In a statement Brentford FC said, "Brentford Football Club very much welcomes this positive decision to allow rugby to be played at the new stadium.
"Progress on the implementation of the Brentford Community Stadium project is continuing apace and physical works are expected to commence on the Lionel Road South site shortly."
London Irish currently play in Reading and are contracted to play there until 2025-6 but have a break clause which allows them to switch grounds.
When London Irish were playing in the Premiership their attendances averaged 12-14,000 compared to Brentford’s which have recently been over 10,000. However, this season London Irish are playing in the rugby championship and their crowds likely to be smaller until they gain promotion.
February 11, 2017