Leicester make plans to move

Leicester City plc yesterday unveiled plans for a new 32,000-seater stadium, on the day it announced pre-tax profits of £1m.

Leicester City plc yesterday unveiled plans for a new 32,000-seater stadium, on the day it announced pre-tax profits of £1m.

The Foxes hope to replace their current Filbert Street home with a £35m state-of-the-art facility after acquiring a 22-acre site at Freeman's Wharf, half a mile from their current base. The club were also boosted by the financial results for the year to 31 July 2000, which showed a marked recovery from a loss of £6.2m the previous year. The most significant change, however, was that expenditure for the year increased by 17 per cent to £28.7m, due mainly to a 28 per-cent increase in player salaries and bursaries to a total of £20.4m. Turnover at the club also increased by nine per cent to £26m.

The news for the Foxes reflected a year which saw them finish eighth in the Premiership and win the Worthington Cup. Leicester's accounts were also swelled by the £11m sale of Emile Heskey to Liverpool.

The Leicester chairman, Sir Rodney Walker, said: "I am pleased to announce our results for a year which was one of the most successful in the club's history. Together with the support of our loyal fan base, the local community and our shareholders, the board believes that the club can continue to compete successfully in the Premier League."

The go-ahead for the Foxes' new home rests upon results of precautionary contamination tests - the previous occupiers of the land were the electricity company Powergen - and also upon agreement with the club's shareholders. But Leicester officials expect the go-ahead to be given and hope to submit a planning application within four weeks. The Freeman's Wharf stadium should then be ready for the 2003 season, and possibly for 2002.

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