Posted: 3/11/2011


       I was reading a story a few days ago about the 4 stadiums built by the Chinese for the African Nations Cup in Angola 2010. As you know it started out with a tragedy when the Togo team's bus was attacked and they then withdrew.

       Well, they all lie empty with weeds growing. Luanda, Cabana, Benguela, Lubango. The cost of  rental for a match is evidently $25,000 and no clubs in the 16 club GIRABOLA, Angolan League, can afford that, since crowds at their matches are sparse. The one in the capital, Luanda, Estadio 11 de Novembre, is over an hour away and difficult to get to. How many other occasions have we seen such folly?  I was at the Montreal Olympics in 1976 and I think it took 25 years to pay off the debt. Today it is unloved and apart from the occasionally Monster Truck rally is not used sufficiently.

       The Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing cost a great deal, but now it is just open for locals to pay and wander inside. No tours of the facilities or entertainment, just a ticket to sit there.  We have just had a decision about the 2012 London Olympic Stadium. After controversy, it has been decided to let West Ham United move in there in 2013, as they agreed to keep the running track. Tottenham Hotspur wanted to use it after taking out the track. Leyton Orient, whose home ground is nearby are protesting that it will be a death nell for their historic club if West Ham overshadow them.

       Multi use stadiums that have been a success include Estadio Olympico in Mexico City where I saw track and football matches in 1968 and many times since, and Olimpiastadion Munich and Stadio Olympico Rome used by Lazio and AC Roma.  The City of Manchester Stadium at Eastlands in Manchester was successfully converted after the Commonwealth Games and the track taken out and is now used by the rich Manchester City club. A track surrounds the small reserve and youth team stadium next door. City are possibly the third most popular team in the city after Manchester United and Manchester United Reserves !!  

         I was at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and saw lots of track & field, and years later returned to watch the World Club Championship between  PSV Eindhoven and Club Nacional Montevideo. It's a little outdated and Yokohama was used instead for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

        The March Edition of FIFA NEWS arrived in my letter box yesterday. It was a very good edition Lots of news about women's football taking off in The Middle East and the upcoming FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany in June/July. Several matches are near to being sold out, including the July 17 Final in Frankfurt, the match for 3rd place in Sinsheim,(new home of Hoffenheim)' all the matches involving Germany and the group stage clashes between USA and Colombia and Brazil v Norway.

     Nine stadiums are being used, in Monchengladbach, Leverkusen, Bochum, Wolfsburg, Sinsheim, Frankfurt, Dresden, Augsburg and Berlin.