Manchester United have shelved plans to redevelop Old Trafford this summer as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
The stadium's capacity had dropped down to around 73,000 when some seats were removed to create a space for disabled reporters, and the plan had been to find a way to try to restore the original 76,000 capacity this summer.
The hope was to find a way to reconfigure Old Trafford to add some more seating, rather than extend the stadium itself. Planning an extension comes with plenty of logistical issues, so United are focusing on finding more space inside the current building.
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward recently warned fans that it will not be 'business as usual' this summer, with United's transfer activity potentially set to be impacted by the coronavirus crisis. However, it now seems as though those issues have spread into their stadium development.
Back in 2018, director Richard Arnold revealed (via Sky Sports News) that United were exploring potential expansion routes to take the stadium's capacity (already the Premier League's biggest) to around 88,000, but that now seems highly unlikely in the short term.
The size of the work would have left United needing to find a temporary new home, and Arnold admitted that finding somewhere had proven to be impossible, so the focus had to turn to finding more space inside the current stadium.
United aren't the only team whose development plans have been impacted. Liverpool were planning to develop their Anfield Road stand, but their plans have now been shelved until December 2021, in the hope of completing the work by 2023.
Construction companies will also be hit by the financial uncertainty, and finding a way to physically do the work while adhering to social distancing guidelines is also expected to be another major concern for any building work.
As of now, clubs are ready to continue with what they already have, but the hope is that stadium developments will be more viable in 2021.
Source : 90min