FA To Open New England Training Facility At St. George's Park
England's world-class national football center will officially open at St. George's Park on Tuesday, with its Chair David Sheepshanks insisting that "it can even achieve the impossible and make English teams good at taking penalties," according to the PA. The £105M ($168.3M) complex that ranks "with the best anywhere in the world," will be opened by Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton. It will be the base for all 24 England teams, from the senior men's side to the junior girls' team, but it will also be "a centre of excellence for training coaches and for sports medicine, sports science and, perhaps not least, psychology." Inside the sports medicine and training center is a gym "stocked with the most technically-advanced equipment that money can buy." However, the FA did not have to buy the equipment "thanks to a sponsorship deal" with the manufacturers Technogym. The gym overlooks the senior training pitch, laid out to the exact dimensions of the pitch at Wembley Stadium and with exactly the same mix of grass and Desso artificial fibers. It is one of 11 outside pitches at the center, five of which are floodlit and with undersoil heating (PA, 10/8).
OFFICIAL LAUNCH: Prince William, who is the honorary president of the FA, will officially launch the new national facility after touring the site and meeting senior figures from the FA, local community figureheads and young grassroots players.The royal pair will also spend time with England Manager Roy Hodgson and his squad as they train at St. George's Park for the first time ahead of their 2014 World Cup qualification game against San Marino on Friday (FA).
OPEN DOOR POLICY: In London, Jamie Jackson was among several media members invited to St. George's Park Monday for a test of the "elite medical facilities." Jackson wrote that the medical complex is "not only impressive, but is also being billed as accessible for all." Managing Dir Julie Harrington said, "One of the things we want to achieve as an organisation is to be more open. We took a strategic decision that there isn't a big gatehouse that says 'You can't come in, it's England's training camp.' It's really important this is considered an open site and people are welcomed in, so other sports people and the general public can use the facilities (GUARDIAN, 10/8).