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Volume 6 No. 234

Facilities

Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen Chair Stewart Milne warned the club "faces playing European games in Glasgow or Edinburgh in future," according to the BBC. He was talking at a "campaign launch to support a new stadium to replace Pittodrie," which he said will "soon not meet the criteria" to host UEFA games. The £50M ($64.4M) stadium and training facilities would be at Kingsford, close to the Aberdeen bypass, near Westhill. However, "objectors have called for the club to look elsewhere." A decision is due to be taken by councilors in October. Milne said of the "forthcoming" new stadium ruling, "The consequences of a negative decision on this will have massive bearings on the future of this club. At some point we will no longer get dispensation to play European games here" (BBC, 8/15). In London, Ben Palmer reported Aberdeen Manager Derek McInnes said that, despite Aberdeen "being the second best team in the country," it has the "worst facilities" in the Scottish Premiership, and pointed to Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian, which train at their own facilities, at Riccarton and Ormiston, respectively, "as the standard which the Pittodrie side must match." McInnes: "We have got to be up there competing with the top clubs in Scotland and the two Edinburgh clubs. That is who we are seen to be mixing with. In terms of performance, we have been second in the league in recent years. ... But we are down at the very bottom of the Scottish Premiership in terms of facilities. Hibs, Hearts, Celtic and Rangers and others that we are competing against have an advantage on us every day" (LONDON TIMES, 8/16).

ANZ Stadium "may not have hosted" its last Australian Football League game, with the league "in talks with venue officials about staging a potential all-Sydney final there next month," according to Andrew Wu of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The ground is reportedly "also in the frame" to host a Greater Western Sydney "home" final should the Giants face a "big Victorian club." The AFL is "keeping all options open with its Sydney finals venues," including the possibility of forking out A$500,000 ($395,800) to have ANZ Stadium ready "in the event of another Swans-Giants September derby." It would be a "massive outlay for a game that may not happen," but one the AFL is prepared to make if it avoids "having to turn away up to 40,000 fans" in a "foreign" market. The AFL is facing "huge costs to reconfigure the rectangular shaped ANZ Stadium," which has not hosted an AFL match since last year's finals series. There would "need to be a large area of new grass laid on both wings," which is currently being covered by seating, at "considerable cost" (SMH, 8/16).

Pro14 side Connacht CEO Willie Ruane "outlined his continued frustration at the delays" in the club's attempt to build a new stadium for the province, according to Ciarán Ó Raghallaigh of the LONDON TIMES. He "is keen for Connacht to progress from the Galway Sportsground." Connacht has "three potential locations in mind for a new stadium," however a timescale has yet to be finalized. Ruane said, "They're fully scoped out, fully costed, and the drawings are done so it really is a case of selecting which location we'd go with and then progress it to the next stage. Some of that comes down to what we would be able to achieve, and what might be viable in each location. That's where it's at. Unfortunately, and this has been the case for a while, we're working at the pace of others, but we're pushing it as much as we can. It's frustrating, I won't deny that" (LONDON TIMES, 8/16).