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Volume 10 No. 24

Facilities

National Rugby League Parramatta Eels and the A-League Western Sydney Wanderers "have joined forces in their campaign for a better stadium," according to Adrian Proszenko of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Eels officials "have been in talks with their Wanderers counterparts about their future venue needs, with a revamp of Parramatta Stadium or the construction of a new facility in the region their preference." The teams "are in heated competition for fans, members and sponsors, but they have found common ground in their desire to provide them with the best possible amenities." Eels CEO Ken Edwards confirmed that "he was in talks with Wanderers officials." Edwards said, "We've had some discussions with the Wanderers around what their plans and what our plans are. Our market research, coupled with the work we've done with the NRL, tells us we should have up to 40,000 members by 2017. That obviously brings into sharp focus our stadium issues in terms of capacity and the facilities that go with it." Parramatta has managed to grow its membership base during difficult times. However, the Wanderers "became the hottest ticket in town during their fabled run to the A-League grand final." Their supporter group, the Red and Black Bloc, "grew exponentially throughout the club's debut season" (SMH, 5/23).

Motorsport New Zealand will inspect Pukekohe's old track "with a view to bringing it back into use as well," according to Paul Charman of the NEW ZEALAND HERALD. The recent NZ$6.6M ($5.3M) revamp includes "installing concrete safety barriers inherited from the Hamilton Street Race, new debris fencing and some resurfacing." New pit structures, race control and timing buildings, a catch fence, crossing gates and a double bridge "have also been imported from Hamilton and three turns have been added." The pit area "has been extended" to allow 32 more pit garages and a state-of-the-art control building to be added. An over-track footbridge and improved viewing areas "are additional features'' (NZ HERALD, 5/22).

Saudi Arabia Football Federation CEO Ahmed Eid said that he "was in favour" of allowing women into football stadiums in the near future, according to MIDDLE EAST ONLINE. Eid said such access could be granted "soon," raising the possibility that 15% of the under-construction King Abdullah stadium in Jeddah "could be made into family boxes, where women could watch matches." The stadium is "due to be finished next year." However, the subject "immediately triggered a wide-ranging debate in the Saudi media, with unfavourable opinion forcing the official to issue a clarification that he was merely expressing a personal opinion" (MIDDLE EAST ONLINE, 5/21).