French Football Federation President Noël Le Graët said that 10 stadiums, one more than required, will be ready for the 2016 Euro Championships, according to the AP. French organizers need "a minimum of nine stadiums" for the event, which will be expanded from 16 to 24 teams. Eight stadiums are on their way to being refurbished by late '14 or June '15, and Le Graët is "confident Lens will fully renovate its existing stadium and Lyon will successfully build a gleaming new one in time." Le Graët said, "We're on track, even if one or two stadiums are a bit behind. Everything will be ready within the deadlines set by UEFA.'' French Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron added that the government will contribute €160M ($207M) to help stadium renovations. Improvements to Paris St. Germain's home, the Parc des Princes, "will also be privately funded." The work at Lens, Saint-Etienne and Toulouse will all be publicly funded. Funding on the stadiums in Bordeaux, Marseille and Nice will be "shared between the public and private sectors" (AP, 10/23).
Mission Hills Group has formed a joint venture with Marriott Int'l through the development of the Ritz-Carlton and Renaissance Hotels at Mission Hills Haikou, located on a Chinese island. The total investment of the deal amounts to RMB 1.3B ($208M), with the two hotels opening to the public in the second quarter of '15. It will be the first golf hotel management project operated by Marriott Int'l in the greater China region. Mission Hills Group CEO & Chair Ken Chu said, "It will be the icing on Mission Hills' Haikou development of a township of 300 shops and Hainan's first ever real ice skating." He added the resort will offer guests "the ultimate golf and holiday experience (Mission Hills Group).
TEEING OFF AT GRASSROOTS LEVEL: Meanwhile, the Scottish Golf Union, Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association and ClubGolf announced the roll out of 50 Scottish Golf Development Centres over the next three years to train the nation's young players. The program will use existing clubs and facilities that meet specified criteria and will provide access to experienced coaching for the young players progressing from ClubGolf. The centers are being funded by reserves from ClubGolfScotland, the national junior golf program, and will be established in three phases, with 21 clubs and facilities having already been identified to launch the program from next month (SGU).
PARTNER PRIVILEGES: Spain's Finca Cortesin Golf Club has joined IMG Prestige's network of clubs offering high-end reciprocal services to some of the top golfing facilities in the world. Fianca Cortesin Golf Club members now also have access to preferred rates, discounts, benefits and privileges at several venues, including Kingsbarns, Scotland; Carton House, Ireland; The Dutch, Holland; Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand; Legend Golf & Safari Resort, South Africa; and Yas Links in Abu Dhabi (IMG).
U.K. five-a-side football center operator Powerleague Fives Ltd. has announced plans to invest £20M ($32M) into community sports facilities across London. Powerleague is inviting all stakeholders across London to consider where new investment into community sports facilities can make a difference to local communities. Whether that is a new Powerleague center with 10 pitches and pavilion, or refurbishing existing facilities that Powerleague will then operate under a usage agreement. The investment is backed by the owners of Powerleague, Patron Capital Partners, who recently raised €880M ($1.4B) for European acquisitions including a continued focus on targeting property-backed companies, including hotels, leisure-related businesses and healthcare (Powerleague Fives Ltd.).
Int'l standard floodlights will be installed at the Lahore City Cricket Association ground to develop a "new culture of night cricket in the city." LCCA President Khawaja Nadim Ahmed said, "Night cricket has become quite popular, and people like to watch it at their leisure time, and that is the reason we are in the process to equip the arena with latest lights to start a new era of night cricket in Lahore," Pakistan. Ahmed said that he floated the idea of lights at a meeting with former PM Mian Nawaz Sharif who liked it and asked him to discuss it with Punjab Chief Minister Mohammad Shahbaz Sharif, "a keen lover of sports" (PAKISTAN TODAY, 10/23). ... Cambodia’s first taekwondo facility, the Booyoung Khmer Taekwondo Center, will be officially opened Friday "after six years of construction." Apart from offices and a meeting room, the center features "two large practice rooms for men and women." The building cost a reported $450,000 (PHNOM PENH POST, 10/23).