Mohamed Al Fayed has big plans for his football club: promotion to the Premiership and a new £70m stadium.
There's not a plastic sphinx in sight. Mohamed Al Fayed, the tycoon of famously dubious taste, is reported to be taking a close personal interest in the design of the new £70m stadium for Fulham FC in west London.

However, unlike at his other famous possession, Harrods, Al Fayed has resisted the temptation to opt for neo-Egyptian kitsch and has instead plumped for a thoroughly modern solution by architect Snell Associates.

This revised design for Craven Cottage, now with Hammersmith and Fulham planners, retains the listed Stevenage Road facade of the present 22 000-seat stadium, hemmed between the Thames and

a residential area. Everything else will be demolished to create a 30 000-capacity, all-seater stadium. It features a translucent fabric canopy and copper-clad soffit as well as 50 executive boxes and six hospitality suites, allowing Al Fayed to throw his lavish parties at the ground.

The scheme will also open up a new riverside walk, connecting Putney and Hammersmith bridges for the first time. The walkway will be lined with cafes and restaurants.

The rebuilding was prompted by the 1990 Taylor report's insistence that Premiership and Division One clubs have all-seater stadia. Fulham, currently top of Division One, hope to enter the Premiership next season.

Planners are expected to decide on the application by the end of the year, with construction expected to take 18 months. Fulham will be looking for a temporary home while the builders are in.

Arup is multidisciplinary engineer on the scheme, Davis Langdon & Everest is QS and Harrods Technical Services is project manager.