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Russian Premier League Spartak Moscow has "sold the naming rights" to its new stadium to a financial firm, meaning it will be called the Otkritie Arena, according to R-SPORT. The 44,000-seat stadium, one of the 2018 World Cup venues, will "bear the name for six years," the length of a $40M sponsorship agreement between the bank and the nine-time Russian champions. The arena was "provisionally known as the Spartak Stadium." The club follow rivals Dynamo Moscow in "selling naming rights to financial firms," after Dynamo named its new home the VTB-Arena after the VTB bank. Under the contract, Spartak will get $40M over six years that will be invested in the club's infrastructure, training base, academy, programs for ex-players and children’s football (R-SPORT, 2/19). REUTERS reported the stadium, due to be open in early '14 in northwest Moscow, will "host group matches for the 2017 Confederations Cup and the World Cup the following year." Spartak Owner Leonid Fedun, who invested more than $500M of his own money into the project, said, "Several generations of Spartak players starting from the early 1930s have dreamed of playing in their own stadium. Their dreams are soon to become reality" (REUTERS, 2/19).
TRUE COLORS: R-Sport reported Fedun denied "plans were afoot to paint the club's new home in the blue and white colors of bitter rivals Dynamo Moscow." A report claimed Spartak, which plays in red and white, had "agreed to the new paint job as part of an agreement" with Otkritie, which has a blue and white corporate color scheme. Fedun said, "The colors won't change. It's complete nonsense. The stadium is red and white and will stay that way" (R-SPORT, 2/18).
National Rugby League club Parramatta Eels have "held preliminary discussions" with New South Wales Minister for Sport Graham Annesley about the potential for a new "state of the art'' stadium, according to Michael Chammas of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. During the next few months, the NSW state government will begin investigating its options for the investment strategy it announced last year, which did not include "funding to upgrade the dilapidated suburban grounds." The report that Annesley tabled "outlined a plan to invest in major sporting venues" like ANZ Stadium and Allianz Stadium. It also looked at the construction of a new ground in Western Sydney or the redevelopment of either Parramatta Stadium, Centrebet Stadium or Campbelltown Stadium. Eels CEO Ken Edwards has "begun the push for a new rectangular ground" to be built in Parramatta that would see the region become the new "sporting hub of the west." Although specific details were not discussed, Edwards "made no secret of his desire to persuade the state government to invest in Parramatta" (SMH, 2/19).
South African Super Rugby side Durban Sharks have confirmed that their stadium naming-rights sponsorship with clothing and furniture retailer Mr. Price "has ended," effective Jan. 1, according to SPORT24. The stadium, which over the past two years has been known as Mr. Price Kings Park, will now be referred to as Kings Park (SPORT24, 2/18). RUGBY WEEK reported the Sharks said that "they are in talks with potential new sponsors and an agreement should be concluded in the not too distant future." While the stadium name sponsorship has fallen away the team "will still be sponsored by Mr. Price" (RUGBY WEEK, 2/18).
After a one-day strike, workers at Rio de Janeiro's Maracanã stadium "returned to work on Tuesday," according to Marcelo Baltar of GLOBO ESPORTE. The union representing the workers has asked for better benefits from the consortium in charge of the reforms, and they are "very close to reaching this objective." Rio de Janeiro Governor Sérgio Cabral entered the negotiations and made a better offer to the workers who have asked for a 15% increase in their salary along, R$330 ($168) in food vouchers and private health insurance for their families, amongst other things. Cabral has agreed to a 11% increase in salaries and the R$330 in food vouchers (GLOBO ESPORTE, 2/19). SOCCEREX noted the Maracanã was originally due to reopen on Dec. 31, but is now set to stage its first game on June 2. The stadium is one of the venues scheduled to host Confederations Cup matches starting on June 16. FIFA set April 15 as the new deadline for the stadium to be finished and the organization "stressed the deadline will not be further extended" (SOCCEREX, 2/19).