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Volume 6 No. 234


The governing body of the European Champions Cup decided to move its HQ out of the Swiss town of Neuchâtel just three years after it was established, "because of the travel demands" the location has put on its staff and execs, according to Gavin Mairs of the London TELEGRAPH. European Professional Club Rugby is understood to be relocating to Lausanne. Establishing an HQ in Neuchâtel in '15 was "intended to represent a new era for the competition" after the former governing body, Dublin-based European Rugby Cup, was "wound up following a power struggle" between the English and French clubs and the int'l unions. The "more obvious" locations of London and Paris were rejected because they were not regarded as “neutral” locations, given the "bitterness" of the dispute that led to the break-up of the ERC. The Neuchâtel area has "virtually no strong sporting links," and the hour-and-a-half journey by road or rail from Geneva is "thought to have put too much of an added strain on the business of governing the tournaments." Every member of the 20-strong staff is expected to move to the new location in Lausanne, which "features a rapid transit system and is less than one hour from Geneva airport, ahead of the start of next season" (TELEGRAPH, 1/10).

Cricket Australia said that Perth Stadium will "take over hosting duties from the historic WACA ground" after the Int'l Cricket Council approved the newly-built venue to host all int'l formats, according to Aditi Prakash of REUTERS. The 50,000-seat stadium will "now become the main venue for cricket in Western Australia," and the fifth one-day int'l between Australia and England on Jan. 28 will be the "first major sporting event held at the ground." CA CEO James Sutherland said, "The stadium is a magnificent asset for the state of WA and its sports fans." The stadium will also host matches from the Big Bash League, Australian rules football and soccer. The WACA, which has hosted cricket matches since the early 1890s, "will be turned into a boutique ground with a capacity of 10,000-15,000 by the local board" (REUTERS, 1/10). The PA's Rory Dollard reported the ICC's inspection, led by ICC match referee Richie Richardson, was "essentially a formality with tickets having already been sold for the grand opening" on Jan. 28. Richardson said, "This is by far the most impressive and well laid out stadium I have ever visited" (PA, 1/11).

Serie A side AS Roma President James Pallotta said that the Stadio della Roma will be "the new Colosseum," according to FOOTBALL ITALIA. The club hopes to "finally start" construction on its new ground this year." Pallotta: "It will be the new Colosseum. You can't build a global brand without owning your own stadiums. Everyone in Rome wants this stadium -- except maybe Lazio fans, and they'll get to play there once a year. We're spending a lot of time deciding on what security measures there will be." He added, "Have any of you seen a match in Italy? Do you know what the derby between Roma and Lazio is like? In the north of Italy they don't fight much, it's not like that, but in the south like in Naples and Rome the security problems are very significant. ... There are three billion soccer fans in the world and I'd like 1% to have Roma as their second team, for all the things we do. That would mean having 30 million fans, and those are the numbers we aspire to" (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 1/11).

Premiership Rugby side Bath appointed architecture firm Grimshaw to design an 18,000-seat stadium which will replace the team's Recreation Ground. Grimshaw will submit designs to planners later this year. Bath CEO Tarquin McDonald said, "The stadium for Bath is about delivering a new home for Bath Rugby but it is clear that this project goes beyond that. It is about rugby as a catalyst for riverside regeneration in the center of Bath" (THE ARCHITECTS' JOURNAL, 1/11).

Carnoustie Golf Links is building a £5M ($6.8M) extension "as it prepares to host the Open Championship in July." The new building will contain locker rooms, a bar and restaurant, a shop and caddy facilities. Seven simulators will allow visitors to play virtual golf on famous courses (LONDON TIMES, 1/11).