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Bradford submit plans for ‘Wembley of the North’ with 25,000-seat indoor arena at Odsal Stadium

Bradford submits plans for ‘Wembley of the North’… Bulls’ Odsal Stadium to be converted into 25,000-seat indoor arena – largest permanent covered stadium in England… as club aims to host internationals and Challenge Cup semi-finals .

  • New 25,000-seat indoor stadium would retain Odsal’s iconic bowl structure
  • It would host rugby league internationals and Challenge Cup semi-finals
  • Also used to stage large music, entertainment and cultural events
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Plans for a 25,000-seat indoor arena on the site of Bradford Bulls’ Odsal Stadium have been submitted by Bradford Council, Sportsmail can reveal.

The unique bowl-shaped ground, which hosted a then world rugby league record crowd of 102,569 in 1954, has long been touted as a potential ‘Wembley of the North’ for the 13-a-side code.

The former Superliga and World Club champions temporarily left Odsal in September 2019 due to the rising costs of rent and stadium maintenance.

Plans to transform Bradford Bulls' Odsal Stadium have been submitted by Bradford Council
Plans to transform Bradford Bulls' Odsal Stadium have been submitted by Bradford Council

Plans to transform Bradford Bulls’ Odsal Stadium have been submitted by Bradford Council

The Bulls, who have not played in the Super League since 2014, have since returned and there are now plans to finally transform the side.

The project includes building the largest permanent covered stadium in England, which will host rugby league internationals and major domestic matches such as the Challenge Cup semi-finals.

The new stadium would retain Odsal’s iconic bowl structure and also be used to stage major music, entertainment and cultural events to capitalize on Bradford becoming UK City of Culture in 2025.

The project includes the construction of the largest permanently covered stadium in England
The project includes the construction of the largest permanently covered stadium in England

The project includes the construction of the largest permanently covered stadium in England

Crucially, the complex is subject to a successful bid in the second round of the Government’s Leveling Up Fund, which has two potential £50m awards for culture-led schemes. Additional funding will come from private and public partners, and it is hoped that construction work will begin in 2024.

Plans for the site include a new skills and training facility – built in conjunction with the Rugby Football League – which will be shared by elite players, officials and young adults from across Yorkshire and the North East.

Councilor Susan Hinchcliffe, leader of Bradford Council, said: ‘Independent analysis has shown that Bradford is the country’s number one opportunity to raise the bar and these plans build on our long-term strategy to harness the power of sport to drive economic growth.

The new 25,000-seat indoor stadium would retain Odsal's iconic bowl structure
The new 25,000-seat indoor stadium would retain Odsal's iconic bowl structure

The new 25,000-seat indoor stadium would retain Odsal’s iconic bowl structure

‘Bradford can create a home for rugby league which reflects the status of both the sport and the city, and which will generate almost £1 billion in economic benefits for Bradford over a decade.

“We are committed to working with the RFL to deliver a sports and training facility which provides skills and creates job opportunities for young people in Bradford and beyond.”

The complex would also lead to the construction of a new 105-room hotel, and it is claimed that the stadium and elite sports complex would create 480 full-time jobs over a decade.

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