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Volume 6 No. 211


Plans to redevelop Sheffield, England's Don Valley Stadium site "involve the new National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine being located at the site and a second University Technical College for Sheffield," according to Richard Marsden of the London DAILY STAR. There would also be a "High Performance Centre" linking existing elite sports based in the Lower Don Valley with Sheffield Hallam University’s Centre for Sports Engineering Research. The center "would also be connected with the developing Medical Advanced Manufacturing Centre at Catcliffe." There are also "plans to build a new 12,000 to 15,000-seat rugby stadium for Sheffield Eagles and Rotherham Titans on the Don Valley Stadium site." And up to £2.5M ($3.7M) could be spent upgrading Woodbourn Road stadium to provide "world class" athletics facilities as an alternative to Don Valley. The scheme, endorsed by 2012 LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe, would be the "largest Olympic legacy project outside London" according to former Sheffield Central MP and Sports Minister Richard Caborn (DAILY STAR, 3/12).

MAKING IT SUSTAINABLE: The BBC reported Caborn said the development had "already received funding to go to the feasibility stage." Sheffield City Council leader, Labour councillor Julie Dore, said that "no council funding would be available for the project." Dore: "We are determined to find a solution for Sheffield and this is an opportunity to do that but it needs to be sustainable long term. Sheffield Eagles CEO Mark Aston said, "It's only a dream, it's not reality at this moment in time but it's moving forward I guess." Team GB Gold Medalist Jessica Ennis said the closure of Don Valley was a "huge shame," but pledged her support to the plans for Woodbourn Road (BBC, 3/12).

TRACK REVAMP 'POSITIVE': In London, Russell Jenkins reported Ennis' coach, Toni Minichiello, has hailed a multi-million pound development of an old warm-up athletics track in Sheffield as a “superb” training venue. Minichiello, who had greeted news of the prospective closure with dismay, described the plans to revamp a track originally built as a warm-up facility for the 1991 World Student Games as “incredibly positive.” It is the kind of facility that Ennis "could continue to use as her training base." Minichiello said, "I was looking for alternatives when Don Valley closes in September. Now I have been presented with a superb one" (LONDON TIMES, 3/12).

Melbourne's Etihad Stadium and AAMI Park "remain locked in a battle to host games at the 2015 Asian Cup," according to Matt Windley of the HERALD SUN. The Asian Football Confederation will decide this week "which five Australian stadiums will host games for the tournament." Melbourne is to host seven matches, including the opening game involving the Australian national team, but the semifinals and final "will be played in Sydney." If the AFC wants to maximize attendances at those two fixtures, then Etihad "will get the nod." However, it is feared the stadium's 56,000 capacity "may count against it," especially since the retractable stands are expected to be "brought in to create a rectangular feel." AAMI Park "has the front-running for this reason," despite its use likely to lead to "thousands of fans being locked out" of Australia's games (HERALD SUN, 3/13).