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Volume 6 No. 234

Facilities

Brazil will "try once more to rid itself of part of Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Park," after the city's government failed to find a buyer last year, two people directly involved in the negotiations said, according to Simone Preissler Iglesias of BLOOMBERG. Multi-sport arenas 1, 2 and 3, the velodrome, the tennis center and the car park will be included in the government's Investment Partnership Program, the sources said. The government "hopes to finish the sale by the end of next year." So far this year, the maintenance of the Olympic Park has cost the government R$45N ($14.3M). In an effort to find an operator for the park, the ministry of sport will work with state development bank BNDES "to determine how the concession will be run" (BLOOMBERG, 8/22).

Man City on Monday "unveiled its Tunnel Club, a first of its kind" in European football, which lets fans "buy access to the area around the tunnel that leads from the Etihad Stadium's dressing rooms to the pitch itself," according to Rory Smith of the N.Y. TIMES. Prices for the "so-called premium access" range from $385-19,240 per season. Fans are "rewarded with the chance to see the players from each team as they enter the stadium." They can watch them "file from their changing rooms before the start of each half, and see them return at halftime and full time." It is an idea Man City has imported from the U.S. -- most notably from the NFL Dallas Cowboys, whose AT&T Stadium "boasts a similar facility." The fans are "ensconced in a sophisticated lounge on either side of the tunnel." Man City COO Omar Berrada said that the goal was to "create the feel of an exclusive membership club, and what resulted is a space with an air of relaxed opulence." There is a "circular bar, fine food, private table service, an extensive wine list and, on Monday night, a gin-tasting station." But the introduction of the Tunnel Club has "met resistance in some quarters," which see it as yet "further proof of the creep of gentrification" in the EPL. Meanwhile, those paying for the Tunnel Club are "not only offered a tactical briefing before the game" -- delivered by two Man City analysts -- but a question-and-answer session with a Man City assistant coach (N.Y. TIMES, 8/23).

Construction work on the World Cup stadium in Samara, Russia, is "about 30 days behind schedule," general contractor PSO Kazan said on Wednesday, according to Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber of REUTERS. The company added that it would "make up the lost time,"  Work on the new 45,000-seat stadium, one of 12 that will host World Cup matches next summer, has been "plagued by delays over the past months." PSO Kazan Deputy Head Sergei Ponomaryov said that all "major construction work at the venue would be finished by the end of the year." On Wednesday, cranes "dominated the skyline above the venue and towering metal structures were supporting its roof." The pitch has also not been laid, "unlike at some other venues being built for the tournament." Samara Governor Nikolai Merkushkin "blamed the delay on unfavourable weather, including heavy rain" in the spring (REUTERS, 8/23).