The FA is "committing to the improvement of thousands of run-down and dilapidated playing fields nationwide after 84% of those involved in the game's grassroots cited 'poor facilities' as their most pressing concern," according to David Conn of the London GUARDIAN. The FA will pledge the Football Foundation's £50M ($75.8M) annual budget from '13 to '15 to be spent "mainly on improving large football sites in often poor areas of England's cities." It is unlikely, however, that the FF, which has since '01 been funded by the FA, Premier League and Sport England, "will be given extra money to address the problem." Even though Premier League clubs are "anticipating a massive boost" to £5.5B ($8.3B) in their '13-16 TV deals, the FA is "not expecting the 20 top clubs to increase their contribution to the foundation." The strategy recognizes that "despite the huge amount of money" in football and £780M ($1.2B) invested by the foundation since '01, many who play the game "still do so in abject conditions." That challenge is made more difficult by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government's cuts to local authorities, which own 83% of playing facilities and are "struggling to maintain their budgets for sport and leisure" (GUARDIAN, 2/25).
Karlsruhe, Germany city council members Jürgen Wenzel and Eduardo Mossuto from the Freie Wähler party "want to create a project group to push forward the stadium question until the next municipal elections," according to the KA NEWS. The council members want to spend €60,000 ($78,400) on such a group. The Freie Wähler party said in a statement: "The citizens are expecting for a long time a clear and reasonable decision by the city." The question is whether the Wildparkstadion, home of 3rd League side Karlsruher SC, will be remodeled, or the city decides to build a new stadium (KA NEWS, 2/26).
Royal Pines is "certain to come under fire for being too easy for top pros" after surprisingly winning hosting rights for the Australian PGA Championship this year, according to Jim Tucker of the COURIER-MAIL. The prospect of "birdies on a platter" at a Gold Coast layout where Karrie Webb has fired her career-low tournament total of 26-under par is "certain to rankle with traditionalists." An announcement Tuesday unveiled the RACV Royal Pines layout as the new home for the event. The RACV Royal Pines Resort has a "wonderful track record" over two decades as a host of the Australian Ladies Masters. The on-course hotel, practice facilities, welcome and vibe "are first class but where it trips up is at the most basic requirement: how much of a test will it be for the men?" It will have to "reinvent itself in a major way" to challenge the likes of former U.S. Open winner Geoff Ogilvy, the 2008 Australian PGA champion "who has been a Coolum regular" (COURIER-MAIL, 2/26).
Work has "finally begun" on the A$35M ($36M) upgrade of the Gold Coast Turf Club, according to Meers & Nicholson of the COURIER-MAIL. The news comes after 10 years of "bitter infighting which brought down chairmen and transfixed the community." Club Chair Brett Cook put a hammer through the 20-year-old brick building to "begin work on a double-storey corporate box facility, refurbishment of the upper level of the grandstand and a new pool." About A$12M will be spent on the first phase of the upgrade, which "will be followed by a redevelopment of the racetrack and training facilities." Racing Queensland Chair Kevin Dixon has confirmed the Gold Coast will be used as a "mini metropolitan track" once the upgrades are complete. That will "ease pressure" on Eagle Farm and Doomben (COURIER-MAIL, 2/27).
A new golf course being designed by former Open champion Tom Weiskopf on the outskirts of St. Andrews "will carry the Fife town’s name in its title after a bid to block that failed." The course will be called the St. Andrews Int'l Golf Club as planned and construction work is "set to start in the next few weeks." St. Andrews Links Trust objected to the proposed name but a complaint has been denied by the World Intellectual Property Organisation in Switzerland (SCOTSMAN, 2/26). ... Glasgow Airport is bringing forward £10M ($15M) of investment, which will see its int'l arrivals hall revamped ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The expansion and improvement of the int'l hall "forms part of a general terminal overhaul to ensure the site is ready to deal with the athletes and spectators expected for the sporting event" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 2/26). ...Edinburgh Monarchs speedway bosses conceded that the club’s proposed move to Ingliston is “dead in the water” for this season and are now looking at a possible entry date of '14 (SCOTSMAN, 2/23).