SBD Global/October 15, 2012/Facilities

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  • Liverpool City Council Set To Give Green Light On Anfield Renovation

    Liverpool's City Council is "expected to pave the way" for the redevelopment of Anfield when it announces regeneration plans for the area on Monday, according to Gregg Bakowski of the London GUARDIAN. Club Owner John Henry has always preferred the option of staying at Anfield, the club's home since 1892. A council decision to allow a compulsory purchase order consultations on houses near the stadium "would allow for work to begin as soon as '14." Henry has "always preferred the option of redeveloping Anfield," but the delay in making a decision has "led to increasing dismay among local residents who have already seen regeneration work held up by failed plans for a new stadium under the club's previous owners" (GUARDIAN, 10/14). The BBC's Ben Smith noted that "it remains unclear how far its current capacity of 45,276 would increase and how many houses would be affected" by any compulsory purchase orders. There has been no official comment from the club or the local authority, and "the exact cost of the redevelopment is unknown." Liverpool has "looked into adding an extra tier to the stadium, including more corporate facilities for the Anfield Road and main stands" (BBC, 10/13).

    MAKE IT HAPPEN: In London, Tony Barrett reported Fenway Sports Group believes the capacity of Liverpool’s spiritual home "can be increased from 45,000 to 60,000 by undertaking a phased redevelopment of the Main Stand and Anfield Road Stand at a cost of around £150 million." FSG had complained that the council has "been unwilling to facilitate its vision, but such claims can no longer be made and the dynamic has shifted" to the point that it is now up to "Liverpool’s owner to turn its Anfield blueprint into a reality."  The biggest obstacle involves "convincing local residents to sell their homes." Club officials have closed deals with some householders in the area behind the main stands, but others are refusing to sell, "a problem that could be resolved if the council decides to apply for compulsory purchase orders" (LONDON TIMES, 10/15).

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  • West Ham's Move To Olympic Stadium In Doubt Following Illegal Financial Aid

    EPL club West Ham's move to London's Olympic Stadium "has been thrown into doubt after European Commission officials wrote to the U.K. government asking for details about potentially illegal state aid to football clubs," according to Rob Draper of the London DAILY MAIL. The commission, an arm of the European Union, has power to halt West Ham's bid and has written to all EU countries with the same request. However, the letter to the U.K. government "specifically mentions West Ham's potential use of the Olympic Stadium." The EC probe "could prove beneficial" to EPL clubs. It "is likely to highlight subsidies paid to Spanish, French and German clubs by city councils," such as the deal with Madrid City Council to buy Real Madrid's training ground in '01 to clear its £200M debt at a rate that critics said was preferential (DAILY MAIL, 10/13). In London, Ashling O'Conner wrote European Commission Dir-General for Competition AQlexander Italianer sent a letter to all member states and  "set out five main areas of inquiry to pinpoint instances of football being illegally subsidised by taxpayers."  The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has until Dec. 1 to respond. Italianer's request, it is through, "was prompted by an anonymous complaint, but it is not known whether this was specifically about the Olympic Stadium or about football more widely" (LONDON TIMES, 10/15).

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  • Dresden Could Get A New Naming-Rights Partner As Current One Wants To Withdraw

    Energy distribution company Glücksgas, stadium naming-rights partner of 2nd Bundesliga club Dynamo Dresden, "revealed that it would make room if Dynamo can find another naming-rights partner," according to the MDR. Glücksgas' new management "wants to withdrawal from sports sponsorship deals." Dynamo Dresden spokesperson Enrico Bach said, "We have a valid contract with Glücksgas that the company will comply with if we don't find another investor during the contract's duration." Bach "did not confirm the rumored €300,000 ($389,000)" the club gets from the naming-rights deal. Glücksgas acquired the stadium naming rights in '10 (MDR, 10/14).

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  • Rival Groups Battle Over Proposed Greek Grand Prix

    The Greek government’s decision to "invest heavily" in the construction of a new F1 circuit near the port of Patras has "sparked a furious response from the business consortium behind a similar project" in the Athens suburb of Piraeus, according to Quentin Spurring of AUTO WEEK. The Piraeus consortium, which trades as DielpisF1, has "formalized its bid" through Greek national motorsports body ELPA, and has already "received a personal nod" from F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone. It has issued a statement "denying that its rival, Avtokinitodromio Patras, can claim any candidacy" for a Greek Grand Prix. A DielpisF1 founder accused the partners in Avtokinitodromio Patras, which include a number of local civic bodies, of using “organized disinformation” to attract investors. The Ministry of Regional Development in Athens has committed a subsidy of $37.5M toward the $122M budget of Avtokinitodromio Patras, which intends to build the track in Xalandritsa, a Patras suburb about 130 miles from Athens. However, DielpisF1 "has been working for a long while" on a project adjacent to Piraeus, which lies on the outskirts of the capital. This project is based on a big, disused industrial site on the coast in the municipality of Keratsini-Drapetsona, only 30 miles from Athens Int'l Airport. Greece is "hoping to have a suitable racing facility ready" in time to host F1 by '16 (AUTOWEEK.com, 11/12).

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  • Designer Reveals His Ambitions For Olympic Park's Queen Elizabeth Area

    The designer behind the "much-lauded High Line park" in N.Y. has revealed his ambitions for the area of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park that he hopes will replicate its impact in east London, according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. James Corner, whose practice, James Corner Field Operations, is responsible for the Olympic Park's South Plaza, which contains the stadium and the Aquatics Center, said that the south of the Olympic Park "would offer Londoners a new kind of experience when it opened in spring '14." Corner said, "They are very different on the one hand and similar in the idea of trying to dramatise sequences of movement and experience. The south park was always intended to be more actively programmed." He added, "It's conceived of as a place that will be actively programmed, so there's something on every week – a food festival, a concert, an art show." London Legacy Development Corp. CEO Dennis Hone said that he wanted the south end of the park to "feel like London's answer to Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens." Hone said, "In isolation, each of the things can seem trivial – a carousel, a fountain feature, an outside room with storytelling for children, tree-lined boulevards. In isolation, you might say 'so what?' But in combination, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, it could be quite magical" (GUARDIAN, 10/14).

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