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Volume 6 No. 211


Bank of America Merrill Lynch said that Qatar "may reduce the number of stadiums it builds" for the 2022 World Cup as costs increase, according to Zainab Fattah of BLOOMBERG. The U.S. bank said in a note to investors following meetings with the Qatar 2022 organizing committee that Qatar is negotiating with FIFA "to cut the number of venues to eight or nine from the 12 originally planned." Qatar 2022 Organizing Committee Technical Dir Yasir Al Jamal said, "We are fully committed to delivering on the commitments we made to FIFA. The requirement is a minimum of eight and a maximum of 12 stadiums. We are currently working on delivering our first five stadiums." Qatar agreed to spend as much as $65B on infrastructure "to host the world's most-watched sporting event." Bank of America Merrill Lynch Emerging-Market Fixed-Income Strategy Head Alberto Ades said that "costs are likely to exceed the bank's initial estimate" of $95B (BLOOMBERG, 4/22).

The All England Club has announced "plans for a retractable roof for Court One," according to the BBC. The roof for Court One is expected to be ready for the '19 event. The Centre Court roof has been in use since '09, meaning 26,500 covered seats "will be available across the courts" (BBC, 4/23). EUROSPORT reported All England Club Chair Philip Brook said that a roof over Court One "would help to maintain Wimbledon's place among the elite tournaments." Brook added designing a retractable roof on the 11,500-capacity court would be "complicated." Brook: "The design process will take two years and then, in view of the fact that the Centre Court Roof took three years to construct, we are looking at 2019 for it to be working." Other plans included "three more show courts, enhanced practice facilities and more landscaping of the south-west London site" (EUROSPORT, 4/23).

GOING UNDERGROUND: In London, Simon Briggs reported architects Grimshaw "has been handed" the next phase of Wimbledon's modernization. The All England Club "declined to put any figure on the costs involved, but this looks like half-a-billion pounds' worth of development." Given the "inability of the club to expand its boundaries outwards," and the necessity to create more space for players, broadcasters and commercial partners, "the only realistic way was down." A "massive excavation over the next seven years" is expected, so that the next generation of locker-rooms "can be housed underneath the courts" (TELEGRAPH, 4/23).

MAINTAINING STATUS: In London, Mike Dickson opined, "Those who regard Wimbledon as slightly staid or old fashioned have always profoundly misunderstood the All England Club, never more so than when it comes to this announcement of jaw dropping prize money increases and yet more redevelopment of the grounds." It is "all about maintaining the tournament’s position as, arguably, the most successful annual event in any sport and certainly in tennis -- something that does not come without a talent for innovation and surprise." It "was emphasised that it will not be the ordinary fans through the gate who foot the bill, with a pledge to keep ticket prices steady and the money coming from increased commercial activity and aspects like the huge new television deal announced with China" (DAILY MAIL, 4/23).

Work upgrading the Juscelino Kubitschek Int'l Airport in Brasilia, Brazil "has been guaranteed to be completed on time for the World Cup" in June '14. The guarantee "was given by the Inframérica Consortium, responsible for the airport's development" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 4/23). ... Brazilian Deputy Sports Minister Luis Fernandes has revealed that "the Brazilian government is actively working to ensure the country’s staging of the 2014 FIFA World Cup does not result in an unwanted legacy of the 'gentrification' of its stadia" (SOCCEREX, 4/23).