Leigh Sports Village
|Full name||Leigh Sports Village Stadium|
|Location||Sale Way, Leigh, Greater Manchester, WN7 4GX|
|Owner||Leigh Sports Village Company Ltd,Wigan councils|
|Operator||Leigh Sports Village Company Ltd.|
Castleford vs Widnes
|Opened||28 December 2008|
|Main contractors||Hall Construction|
|Manchester United W.F.C. 2018–2019|
Leigh Sports Village is a £50 million multi-use sports, retail and housing development in Leigh, Greater Manchester, England. The centrepiece of the development is a 12,000-capacity stadium which is home to professional rugby league team Leigh Centurions and Manchester United U23s and U19s. The complex also plays host to amateur rugby league club Leigh East and amateur athletics club Leigh Harriers, who both occupy dedicated facilities on the site. Other facilities on site include the Leigh campus of Wigan and Leigh College, Leigh Sports Centre, which includes a gym, multi-use sports hall and swimming pool, Holiday Inn Express, Morrisons supermarket and Whistling Wren public house.
Leigh Sports Village is a development southwest of Leigh town centre, on the north side of the Leigh arm of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, close to Pennington Flash Country Park and accessed from the A579, Atherleigh Way and by pedestrian routes from the town and surrounding area. The scheme was initially developed to contribute to the regeneration of Leigh and provide modern facilities for local sports clubs, schools and the local community.
The main focus of the sports village is the stadium built for local professional sports clubs and its associated facilities. It is all seating in the West, East and South Stands with standing in the North Stand. There is a 25-metre swimming pool, gymnasia and activity rooms and a sports hall used by the sports clubs, college and local community. A synthetic 400-metre running track, covered training facility and field sports area has been built for Leigh Harriers and Athletic Club and amateur rugby league club, Leigh East ARLFC has a clubhouse at the Leigh Sports Village Arena.
Leigh College occupy a site on the stadium perimeter and share sports and youth facilities. To make the project commercially viable, retail and commercial premises, housing and a hotel are built on the site close to Atherleigh Way.
Roads on the Sports Village site are named after three local sporting personalities: Tommy Sale , Jimmy Ledgard and Geoff Turner. The roads are Sale Way, home to the stadium, sixth form college and sports centre, Turner Way address of Leigh Harriers Athletics Club, whilst Ledgard Avenue accommodates the new Leigh East clubhouse.
Two ramp-up events were held during December 2008 to fulfil safety certificate requirements. A children's rugby league festival was held on 14 December 2008 as the first event, rescheduled from the previous week because of a frozen pitch. After a successful first event, the crowd capacity was set at 4,775. A sell-out crowd of 4,714 saw Leigh versus Salford on 28 December 2008.
Leigh Sports Village was officially opened on Thursday 21 May 2009, by Her Majesty the Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.
Leigh Sports Village was included in the London 2012 Pre-Games Training Camp Guide. The facility was available for use by competing nations as a training camp before the London 2012 Olympic Games. Though officials negotiated with the Ukrainian Olympic team, no nation chose to base athletes at Leigh Sport Village.
On 27 July 2013 the stadium staged its first Rugby League Challenge Cup semi-final, between Wigan and London Broncos.
On Tuesday 5 November, the stadium hosted the Rugby League World Cup 2013 Tonga versus Cook Islands tie, which was won by Tonga 22-16 in front of a then stadium record crowd of 10,544. This attendance was surpassed on Sunday 11 August when the semi-final of the Challenge Cup saw an attendance of 12,005 witness Castleford defeat Widnes 28-6.
On Saturday 21 June 2014, Sir Elton John and his band played in front of 17,000 fans in one of only three announced UK venues for his 2013/14 tour.
In October 2015, England took on France in a warm-up match before their end-of-year test-series against the Kiwis.
Rugby league test matches
|12 June 2010||France||60 - 6||7,951||Test match|
|29 October 2011||Wales||42 - 4||10,377||2011 Four Nations|
|24 October 2015||France||84 - 4||8,380||Test match|
The stadium held a qualifying play off game for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. The match was between Italy and Russia on Friday 4 November 2016, with the winner securing the 14th and final berth in the tournament in Australasia in 2017. 450 were in attendance as Italy took the final World Cup spot with a 76 - 0 hammering.
Facilities available at Leigh Sports Village include:
- A multi-use 12,000-capacity outdoor stadium with Desso GrassMaster pitch and under-pitch heating
- 4 hospitality suites and 22 corporate boxes
- Leigh Indoor Sports Centre – A gymnasium, 9 court sports hall and 25m 6 lane swimming pool
- A 400-metre running track with a 60-metre covered sprinting facility and club house
- Multi-use floodlit 3rd-generation artificial and grass pitches
- Sports pavilion
Site users and tenants
The site is operated by Leigh Sports Village Company on behalf of Wigan Council – owners of the stadium, athletic stadium and clubhouse, swimming pool and sports centre, rugby league clubhouse and 3G pitches. Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust operate Leigh Indoor Sports Centre. Along with general public, use of artificial and grass pitches, sports hall, gymnasium and swimming pool, the Leigh Sports Village site has several long term tenants.
- Leigh Centurions rugby league club are tenants at the stadium.
- Leigh Harriers Athletic Club are tenants of the athletics facilities.
- Kro Hotels are the owners and operators of the Holiday Inn Express hotel, sold in 2014 by previous owners Park Inn.
- Leigh Athletic Football Club. Plays all their home games at the Leigh Harriers
- Manchester United Reserves play most home games there as of the 2014–15 season.
- Johnson Training delivers Pool Plant Operator Training Courses at Leigh Indoor Sports Centre
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