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Gloucestershire Business News

EXCLUSIVE: Pitch work kicks off at FGR's eco stadium

It's game on for building the training pitches at Forest Green's Eco Park stadium. Work will begin in the next month.

The news follows Punchline's report on the February groundwork at the M5 junction 13 location for the vegan club's spectacular new wooden stadium. Once complete, this will be home for the EFL League Two champions, who are currently based in limited facilities at the Bolt New Lawn in Nailsworth.

FGR's men, women and academy players currently train at Stanley Park in Chippenham, but the new Eco Park will draw the club's entire operation to one consolidated site.

FGR owner Dale Vince told fans: "We should start work on the first two training pitches within the next month."

Vince was speaking at Tuesday night's fan forum where recently-appointed manager Duncan Ferguson spoke about his strategy and aims for the club's future.

FGR recently revealed that the training centre at Eco Park will be called the Candriam Training Ground, in recognition of support from New York-based global asset management and sustainability pioneers Candriam.

A spokesman said: "The Candriam Training Ground will be a hub for the whole Forest Green Rovers family, where the first team, women's team and Academy will all train. It will also be made available to community groups."

Development of the new training ground was initially tipped to commence in spring 2022; plans revealed at the time indicated that the Park will include a Green Technology Cluster for "like-minded companies from the green economy" with the promise of the scheme supporting around 3,000 jobs across the Stroud district.

Naïm Abou-Jaoudé, CEO of Candriam said: "Candriam and Forest Green Rovers share similar values based on a deep commitment towards sustainable development and social inclusion.

"The universal dimension of football makes it a powerful channel for spreading ideas: by supporting Forest Green Rovers in its growing ambitions, Candriam aims to accelerate the awareness of the climate emergency and other sustainability issues. As such, the Candriam Training Ground is an exciting next step in our journey together."

Dale Vince, Chairman of Forest Green Rovers, added: "The Eco Park more generally will be a world-class development for Stroud and a beacon of what is achievable for sustainability in sport.

"It will be the perfect new home for Forest Green Rovers and everything we stand for, as well as a centre of excellence for sport, creativity, innovation and green technology in Gloucestershire."

In the wake of the January resignation of Henry Staelens, FGR has also given clues to the appointment of a replacement CEO. 

Dale Vince said: "The search is now complete. It's a guy from New Zealand who will be joining us in May. We'll have more information soon."

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