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Volume 10 No. 25


England will play at Sweden on Wednesday in the official opening of the new Friends Arena in Stockholm, "but half the stadium is still in rubble," according to Luke Benedict of the London DAILY MAIL. One side of the stadium is still a building site, and signs even warn pedestrians of "controlled explosions" in the surrounding area. Inside the stadium, however, "the building work is all-but completed, save for a few finishing touches to the advertising hoarding." Outside, "there is chaos." While parts of the stadium are "clearly not ready to be used" Wednesday night, there still have been no signs offering any of the expected 50,000 crowd "any clue where to go." The Friends Arena is replacing the soon-to-be demolished Rasunda Stadium, which had been Sweden's home for 75 years. Sweden also hosted England when Rasunda was inaugurated in '37 (DAILY MAIL, 11/13).

Many sports teams in Munich have no place to play "because the city does not want to spend money on new arenas," putting some clubs in difficult situations, according to Schnitzler & Tögel of the SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG. The city has not provided any hope for a new Munich arena even though German Hockey League (DEL) club EHC Red Bull Munich "longs for it," and Bayern Munich President Uli Hoeneß "demands it vehemently." Munich Mayor Christine Strobl, who is in charge of sports, said there is "low willingness" on a cross-partisan basis in the city council to "invest money on it." Strobl added the city "will be faced with a lot," citing upcoming renovations at the Olympic Park. Due to a missing arena, it is already clear that Munich will miss out on a big-time sporting event. If Germany gets to host the 2017 Ice Hockey World Championships, Munich will not be a host city. Plans for new arenas, created for Munich's Olympic bid for the 2018 Winter Games, "were put back in the drawers" as the city lost out to PyeongChang, South Korea. What remained "was a cross-partisan intention to build at least one new arena with Bayern Munich Basketball and EHC Red Bull Munich as its main tenants." However, nothing has happened so far, Bayern Munich renovated the Rudi-Sedlmayer-Halle for €5M ($6.3M), and the EHC still plays its home games at the 45-year-old Olympic Ice Center. Munich Olympic Park Assistant Managing Dir Arno Hartung said that "there is a general agreement about building a new 7,500-seat arena." City Sports Minister Thomas Urban disagreed with this description and said, "There won't be a new arena." Urban said the city, instead, should think about renovating the Olympic Ice Center to "guarantee long-term elite hockey." Bayern Munich Basketball has a lease with the city through '16, with an option for two additional years. The EHC will continue to play in the ice center, as it has no other option, but the whole dilemma about a new arena could be resolved should Munich bid and get awarded the 2022 Winter Games (SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, 11/13).

EPL club Stoke City has revealed it is looking into the detailed feasibility of expanding the Britannia Stadium with the addition of more seats in the southeast corner. The club is taking the opportunity to obtain planning permission to fill in the area between the Seddon Stand and the Marston’s Pedigree Stand, which currently accommodates the giant video screen, to bring the capacity of the stadium up to the 30,000 mark. With the supporter base continuing to grow since promotion to the Premier League in '08, the decision gives the club flexibility to expand the stadium when the costs in the construction industry are comparatively low. In the coming weeks, the club will work on the potential make-up and nature of a southeast corner and to what section of supporters it will appeal (Stoke City).

Cricket South Africa "has started collecting memorabilia for its new museum and has opened the door for public donations." The museum, which will be housed in a gallery area at the Wanderers in Johannesburg, "will be inclusive of the country's entire history in the sport, including 124 years of Test cricket -- before, during and after the isolation period (ANI, 11/9). ... The construction delay of Bangkok's futsal stadium "has become political, with the Pheu Thai Party on Thursday accusing the tourism and sports minister and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration of causing damage to the country's reputation." In the Thai House of Representatives, Pheu Thai MP for Bangkok Jirayu Huangsap "grilled Tourism and Sports Minister Chumphon Silpa-archa over the ministry's decision to give the BMA the responsibility to build the Bangkok Futsal Arena" (BANGKOK POST, 11/8).