Chile calls for redesign of South Leeds Stadium

South Leeds Stadium has found itself caught up in an international row about cultural appropriation with demands for the outside staircases of the Geoff Gunney Stand to be rebuilt.

Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, in the Pacific Ocean is part of Chile and home to over 1,000 moai statues of giant heads created by a once rich civilization. Two moai statues were taken by British surveyors in 1868 and are still in the British Museum.

Ahu Tongariki on Easter Island. Photo: Ian Sewell via Creative Commons

Chile has long called for their return, but has now widened its demands to include all references to the iconic heads.

In February The Guardian reported that the British Museum’s Instagram account had come under attack from Chileans calling for the return of the moai statues.

The Division Bell © Pink Floyd

Some record shops in Santiago have stopped selling Pink Floyd’s album The Division Bell because the cover features two giant heads. They say they will only restock it if the cover art is replaced.

Now Leeds City Council has been approached to redesign the staircases at South Leeds Stadium.

Anne Thropologist, the Council’s Cultural Artifacts and Heritage officer told South Leeds Life:

“It’s a very unusual request. The Council is very sensitive to the religious and spiritual importance of artifacts brought to the city from around the world in days gone by. But South Leeds Stadium was built by the Council in 1996 and has no links to Rapa Nui, or its people.

“I’ve spoken to colleagues at Wiltshire Council and gather that initial requests for Stonehenge to be redesigned have been withdrawn by the Chileans.”

Steve Joist from structural engineers Holding, Upright & Standing, explained the features on the staircases were simply wind mitigation measures to reduce the load on the building.

“It would not be possible to alter the top of these structures without dismantling the entire staircases. That could be done, but it would be expensive and put the stadium out of action as these are important fire escape routes.”

We spoke to people at the stadium for the Hunslet match and Good Friday. One rugby fan, Frank Incensed, said:

“This is political correctness gone mad.”

While another, Ewan Hughes-Army, said:

“The Council is struggling for cash, it shouldn’t waste any money knocking down and rebuilding a perfectly good building.”

Neither the Chilean Embassy in London, nor the Foreign Office responded to our requests for comment.


UPDATE: If you’re still worried, please check the date at the top of this post.


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2 Replies to “Chile calls for redesign of South Leeds Stadium”

  1. this was one of your better efforts!
    satire is often hard to distinguish from news so, good job!

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