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Volume 7 No. 149


Perth's new A$1.6B ($1.16B) sports stadium wants to "poach one of the two iconic events on the Australian cricket calendar -- Melbourne's Boxing Day Test or Sydney's New Year's Test," according to Jon Pierik of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. As the 60,000-seat, "technologically advanced" Optus Stadium prepares to host Australia and India in its maiden test, beginning Friday, Optus Stadium CEO Mike McKenna "revealed his intentions amid frustration from Perth cricket supporters" that they do not have a set date for a test each summer. While the Melbourne Cricket Club and the Victorian government's major events arm have "warded off threats before," McKenna's comments come as the MCC's deal with Cricket Australia expires at the end of this summer, while the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust's deal with the governing body expires in '22. McKenna said, "I know that Cricket Australia will be looking to have those conversations and I dare say they will have the first conversation with the MCC but if the opportunity comes to talk to us, we would be very keen to have those conversations." CA insisted it has "no intentions" of changing its "venue hire agreement" with the MCG and the SCG, and the tests "almost certainly will remain at their traditional venues," but it "made it clear to all venues that financial returns from Tests are paramount" (SMH, 12/12).

Tottenham confirmed a further delay to the opening of its new stadium with next month's Premier League match against ManU switched to Wembley, according to Matt Hughes of the LONDON TIMES. In a statement, the club claimed to be "making good progress" rectifying the problems with critical safety systems that have caused the opening of the club's rebuilt ground to be delayed by at least five months, but has yet to schedule the test events required to gain a safety certificate. Tottenham had "provisionally planned test events" for Dec. 30 and Jan. 6, but they have been postponed, leading to "another delay of almost a month in opening the stadium," with ManU's visit on Jan. 13 now taking place at Wembley. The club's next EPL home game after ManU is not until Jan. 30 against Watford. As a Wednesday night on the eve of transfer deadline day, it is "hardly the ideal date for such an occasion." The opening could be put back further until the Newcastle game on Feb. 2. Tottenham Chair Daniel Levy "thanked the fans" for their patience in continuing to support the club at Wembley, albeit in "dramatically diminished numbers," but "offered no guarantees as to when the new stadium will finally be ready." Levy said, "What I don't want to do is set any firm dates until we have finally achieved a safety certificate. So many people tell me to look at other major schemes that run late and, whilst I know it happens often, we are still hugely frustrated" (LONDON TIMES, 12/12).

RACE AGAINST TIME: In London, Matt Law reported Tottenham is "facing a race" to hold Champions League football at the club's new stadium when the competition restarts in February. Having played all its group games at Wembley, Spurs are in talks with UEFA over its home venue for the last-16, with the club still to announce when it will move into its new stadium. UEFA confirmed that a decision on where Tottenham will play the remainder of its Champions League campaign will be taken before February (TELEGRAPH, 12/12). In London, Keegan & Barlow reported in normal circumstances, Tottenham would "advise UEFA" by Monday, the day of the draw, which stadium it would be using not only for the last-16 home match, but also for the remainder of the competition should it progress. However, Tottenham was told UEFA is "flexible about the situation" and will work with the club to find a positive solution (DAILY MAIL, 12/12).