Stadia

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Nations scramble to win 2009 RWC Sevens

The IRB has received a record number of expressions of interest from countries looking to host the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in 2009, highlighting the growing popularity of the format.

IRB member unions Arabian Gulf, Australia, Netherlands, Russia and USA all submitted detailed tender documents by last week’s deadline outlining their bid to host the tournament.

Bankers set up football stadia venture

Two leading City financiers have formed a joint venture with sports marketing agency IMG with a view to building new stadia for football clubs across Europe.

Robin Saunders, a former banker at West LB, and Lord Jacob Rothschild have used their investment vehicles – Clearbrook Capital and RIT Capital respectively – to buy Bastion, a small stadium management business.

Through Bastion the two bankers have formed a deal with IMG to take advantage of the current raft of clubs across Europe looking to invest in new stadia to bolster their revenue streams.

UK '90% sure' of landing NFL game

The UK is ‘90% sure’ that it will win the race to host an NFL game next year – the first time that the US league has held a fixture outside of its domestic market – with the new Wembley Stadium the likely venue.

The NFL confirmed last week that it would stage a regular season NFL game outside of the US next season, rising to two games a year in 2008.

According to NFL Europe, the UK seems likely to land the game next year ahead of the other nations in the mix – Germany, Canada and Mexico.

West Ham to meet 2012 over stadium move

New West Ham United owner Eggert Magnusson has confirmed that he will meet with officials from London 2012 this week to discuss the club buying the new Olympic Stadium after the Games has been staged.

Magnusson, who bought the FA Premier League club last week in a £85m takeover, has expressed his desire to purchase the Olympic stadium and is willing to consider the 2012 organising committee’s demands that the running track remain in the arena so that it could stage both football and athletics events.

Richards quits Wembley post

Wembley National Stadium Limited has lost its head of sponsorship Clive Richards who is leaving the group at the end of the year.

Richards, who joined Wembley from IMG in October 2003, has quit to launch a new media venture the details of which are not clear at this juncture.

The departing Richards was pivotal in bringing in Wembley’s founding partnership deals with Carlsberg, Microsoft and Umbro as well as second-tier partner deals with Betfred and Npower.

ODA green lights early planning approvals

Under pressure over spiralling budgets, London 2012 at last received some good news after the Olympic Delivery Authority confirmed its first planning approvals ahead of schedule.

Work on cleaning up the Olympic Park site will now start a month ahead of schedule after the ODA Planning Committee gave the go ahead on plans.

The demolition and remediation will start in December after two planning applications from the London Development Agency and ODA were approved.

London 2012 facing tax bill over construction

The construction work for the London 2012 Olympics could be subject to a substantial VAT bill despite the financial estimates laid out in the bid document not incorporating such tax payments.

According to Shadow Sport Minister Hugh Robertson, the UK government had placed assurances that the £2.38bn cost of the construction for the Games would not be subject to normal taxes which could be as much as 17.5%.

Coe dismisses Olympic stadium bids

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe has dismissed West Ham's hopes of moving into the new Olympic Stadium by stating that none of the clubs currently looking at the venue are close to meeting the ground’s valuation.

Coe said that the organising committee has placed a £100m price tag on the stadium – a fee that none of the clubs believed to be bidding to take over the ground post-2012 were close to.

Rose Bowl bids for Test status

The Rose Bowl, home of Hampshire county cricket club, is set for a £35m redevelopment with the aim of transforming the ground into a Test match venue.

The work will increase the temporary capacity to 23,600 - the second-largest for cricket in England - and the permanent capacity to 13,500.

A hotel will also be built at the 150-acre site in Southampton and the golf course is to be extended and upgraded.

Subject to planning permission, the work is set to start in late 2007 and be completed in 2009.

Government backs 2018 World Cup bid

The government is willing to back a English bid to stage the 2018 World Cup according to Minister for Sport Richard Caborn.

According to Caborn, Chancellor Gordon Brown and UEFA president Lennart Johansson have met to discuss the idea - talks which produced a positive outcome.

The 2010 tournament has already been handed to South Africa and the 2014 World Cup will go to a South American country meaning that the 2018 event represents the first viable opportunity for a European country to stage the World Cup.

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