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Volume 6 No. 247

Facilities

Sydney's suite of rebuilt stadiums "would be used to turbocharge bids" to host sport's biggest global events, including the football and rugby World Cups, under a plan put to the state government, according to Anna Caldwell of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. It envisages "leveraging the multibillion-dollar refurbishment" of ANZ, Allianz and Parramatta Stadiums to "target the women’s and men’s rugby World Cups" in '21 and '27, respectively, and the FIFA women’s and men’s World Cups in '23 and '30. Prepared by Western Sydney’s leading business groups, the proposal "also calls for Sydney to bid to host the Commonwealth Games" in '26 or '30. It hopes to hold the opening and closing ceremonies plus events such as rugby sevens and hockey at the rebuilt rectangular Olympic Park stadium, with athletics, which requires an oval track, being held next door at Spotless Stadium. The plan was developed by the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, Western Sydney Business Chamber and Sydney Olympic Park Business Association. Success "would attract millions in tourism dollars for the economy and revive the glory days" of the Sydney 2000 Olympics by "putting the city on the international map" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 3/12).

The Irish Greyhound Board plans to spend up to €12M ($14.8M) over the next five years upgrading the country’s main greyhound racing stadium at Shelbourne Park, "supporting breeding and training of dogs and addressing the negative image of the sport." IGB Chair Phil Meaney said on Monday that the strategic plan for '18-22 is an opportunity for “a new beginning” for greyhound racing in Ireland. An economic analysis and assessment of the greyhound industry by economist Jim Power revealed more than 12,300 people "derived economic benefit from the sector" (IRISH TIMES, 3/12).

With the multi-million pound redevelopment of Brandywell Stadium, one of the grand old ground's "quirks," the Brandywell Slope, has been "consigned to the footballing history books." As League of Ireland Premier Division side Derry City gets ready to face Limerick in the first game at the newly developed Brandywell, the "ground boasts a new synthetic and even playing surface." Former Northern Ireland int'l and Derry City striker Liam Coyle said, "The slope was difficult, it was hard, especially when you were young" (BBC, 3/12).