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Volume 10 No. 25

Events and Attractions

Problems "continued to mount for 2015 Rugby World Cup organisers" on Wednesday night as Man City prepared to host only one of the fixtures snubbed by arch-rival ManU, according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. Man City is "in negotiations" with England 2015 over staging just one of the tournament’s 48 matches, "raising questions over the commitment to bring the game’s biggest event to all corners of the country and outside its traditional heartlands." ManU confirmed on Tuesday that it "did not want to be considered to host even one fixture." That "dealt a blow to organisers’ hopes" of selling the 2.9 million tickets required to fulfil the £80M ($121M) revenue pledge made to the Int'l Rugby Board. There was "more bad news on the ticket front" on Wednesday when the Government confirmed that it was "set to reject England 2015’s request to have touting at the tournament made illegal" (TELEGRAPH, 4/3).

FOOTBALL GROUNDS ONLY: In London, James Riach reported Premiership rugby club Leicester CEO Simon Cohenthe said that the decision to choose mainly football stadiums to host Rugby World Cup matches "was inevitably going to cause a major headache for organisers." Leicester's Welford Road "had been under consideration by the competition organisers." However, although RWCL was" keen to include the ground, it did not meet the required criteria." Instead, Leicester's King Power Stadium, where the Tigers have played Heineken Cup matches, "was added to the longlist of 17 venues that will be cut by five this month." Cohen: "It's a shame that both the criteria and financial considerations exclude a ground that we feel is the best club rugby stadium in the U.K." (GUARDIAN, 4/3).

Competitors in next week's Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge "who ignore strict regulations to protect the environment could face time penalties and fines, and ultimately be disqualified from the event," according to THE NATIONAL. Rally organizers The Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE have warned that "they will get tough with any competitors failing to comply with an environmental code being enforced" when the event is run through the desert terrain in the Western Region of Al Gharbia. ATCUAE President Mohammed ben Sulayem "backed the new regulations." Ben Sulayem: "It's very important to us to take all necessary precautions to protect the desert, and we're certain we can count on the competitors to support us by observing the environmental code" (THE NATIONAL, 4/2).

The ASEAN Football Federation said on Wednesday that "Singapore and Vietnam will jointly host the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup," according to Patrick Johnston of REUTERS. Singapore, "who claimed a record fourth title when they beat Thailand over two legs in the final in December, will host group matches at their new Sports Hub stadium," which is expected to be completed in 12 months time. Vietnam will host games at the MyDinh National Stadium, "where they won their only title" in '08 (REUTERS, 4/3).