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Volume 6 No. 212


The final cost of converting the Olympic Stadium could rise by £15M ($25M) because of "complications in work to install a new roof," according to Paul Kelso of SKY NEWS. Work is under way on the new roof and retractable seating to "cover the running track so the stadium can be used by West Ham United." But contractors believe costs "may have to rise to complete the project." The original stadium, which was designed as a "largely temporary venue and never intended to host Premier League football," cost £429M ($706M) to build, with the conversion costing a further £154M ($253M). Additional costs arising from the "complications with the roof could take the total cost of the stadium" above £600M ($988M), "almost double the original cost in London's 2012 bid." The London Legacy Development Corp., which is responsible for the work, said that it is confident "any increase will be covered by savings elsewhere, but any increase would lead to fresh complaints over the handling of the troubled project." The LLDC has a "fixed-price contract with contractors Balfour Beatty to deliver the work, and say they will hold the contractor to its deal." The potential cost increase is a result of "additional work required to strengthen the stadium structure in order to bear the weight of the new roof." The work, which uses technology previously only used on oil rigs, is taking "longer than expected, and will have a knock-on effect on the sequencing of other work" (SKY NEWS, 9/2).

League One side Coventry City will return to the Ricoh Arena "for the first time in over a year as they welcome Gillingham in Friday's Sky Bet League One clash," according to SKY SPORTS. More than 20,000 fans are expected to "turn out for the club's first appearance at the stadium since they were forced to play elsewhere after a rent dispute with stadium owners Arena Coventry Limited" in May '13. ACL Chair Chris Robinson said that "preparations are well under way for the clubs highly anticipated return." Robinson: "It's been a little bit dusty without the fans for the last year but they should find it in pretty good condition on Friday night" (SKY SPORTS, 9/3). In Coventry, Simon Gilbert reported the team has "announced plans to put 1,000 more tickets on sale for the club's first game back at the Ricoh Arena." The club has said that it will "make the tickets available after approval from the Safety Advisory Group to open up more seats in the South Stand." Tickets in Block 11, which holds just more than 1,000 supporters, will be put up for sale at 9:30am on Thursday -- "but will only be available to purchase in person at the CCFC Superstore in the Gallagher Retail Park." They will "not be available online or over the phone" (COVENTRY TELEGRAPH, 9/3). Also in Coventry, Matthew Bates reported "Coventry's economy will get a much-needed boost from the Sky Blues return to the Ricoh Arena, it has been claimed." The north of the city could "especially benefit with extra spending in nearby clubs and shops, on transport and car parking and at the stadium itself." One social club member said that his venue was "just weeks away from closure after missing out" on £25,000 ($41,150) in "beer takings alone during the Sky Blues' exodus in Northampton last season." Another club said that it missed out on around £20,000 ($32,900) and had "only managed to survive because its bowling green helped to bump up takings." R.A.O.B Club steward Richard Foreward said, "We were on the brink of closure -- just a few weeks away from shutting the doors. This has given us a second chance and hopefully they can stay up at the Ricoh this time" (COVENTRY OBSERVER, 8/28).

Badminton players competing in the Vietnam Open GP in Ho Chi Minh City "suffered a huge scare when a part of the ceiling in the stadium collapsed on Tuesday," according to Kng Zheng Guan of THE STAR. On the second day of the tournament, "all three courts at the Phan Dinh Phung Stadium were being used." At about 5pm, "the ceiling in the middle of the stadium came crashing down." Malaysian player Zulfadli Zulkiffli said, "Luckily everyone got out of the way in time." Play was halted and the "competiton was moved to a new venue -- the Tan Binh Stadium -- on Wednesday afternoon" (THE STAR, 9/3).