Auckland’s North Harbour stadium is set to undergo a significant redevelopment with a financial contribution from the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015.

More than 5,000 extra seats which formed part of the famous Railway Stand at Dunedin’s Carisbrook will take on a new lease of life at the Albany stadium bringing its capacity up to 25,000 when it plays host to FIFA’s second largest global football event from 30 May to 20 June 2015.

The seats, which were auctioned off last year as part of a Rotary fundraising initiative, were purchased following a NZD $100,000 funding boost from the LOC of the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015.

Dave Beeche, CEO of the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015 described the investment as a fantastic legacy for future sporting events in Auckland.

“We wanted to invest in projects that make a real difference, not only in regards to environmental sustainability, but also to New Zealand sports fans who we hope to see come along and support the World’s best young football players in 2015.

“The seats will create a new fan zone for the FIFA U-20 World Cup which is designed to appeal to the large youth football-playing community in this country,” Beeche said.

The new seats will form part of a significant upgrade for the stadium to coincide with its hosting of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2015 and will replace the current banks at the ends of the stadium.

North Harbour Stadium Manager, Brian Doherty, who travelled to Dunedin to collect the new seats, said he was delighted that they were able to give the once famed blue seats a chance to seat sports fans again.

“I know that many sports fans in this country have fond memories of Carisbrook, it was a truly iconic sports ground so we’re thrilled to be able to recycle these seats and give them a new home in Auckland where they will help to create many more memorable moments for Kiwi sports fans, and what better way to kick their new legacy off with the world’s biggest game coming to New Zealand seen by over 170 million people in over 100 countries around the world”.

Work on the new seating will begin later this year once the winter sports season is over.

“We want to ensure that there is as little disruption to our current sports programme as possible and so we won’t start construction until September 2014, with the new seating complete by April before the FIFA tournament,” Doherty added.

As well as hosting the final of the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015, North Harbour Stadium will stage the opening match, four first round matches, one round of 16 match together with a quarter and semi-final.