POSTED: August 10th 2009

Aston Villa pull back from London 2012

Villa Park action . . . but not during the next Olympics /
Villa Park action . . . but not during the next Olympics /

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON: Villa Park has been scrapped as a venue for the 2012 Olympic Games football tournament. Aston Villa’s historic home had been one of the grounds scheduled for use during the opening, group stage.

However, the club’s American owner Randy Lerner is planning major redevelopment work in the next few years which would make a guarantee of availability impossible.

The London organisers have been working closely with the various selected venues over the past eight months but had a come to a point of needing firm commitments. This was impossible for Villa which needs to expand Villa Park as best it can to compete in the financially rarefied atmosphere at the top of the Premier League.

An organisers’ statement said: “LOCOG is grateful to Aston Villa for its support to date and is continuing with its planning in order to deliver a first class Olympic football tournament.  It is looking at options for replacing Villa Park.”

Venue switches

The other grounds pencilled in are Hampden Park (Glasgow), Millennium Stadium (Cardiff), Old Trafford (Manchester), St James' Park (Newcastle) and Wembley (London). Villa Park’ withdrawal offers the organisers the opportunity of a major review of likely venues.

The refusal of the Scottish and Wales football associations to support the British Olympic football team has led to suggestions that Hampden and the Millennium Stadium should be replaced by English venues. This would be popular among those cities and clubs which are competing for selection as potential venues for the 2018 World Cup.

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Keywords · Olympic Games · London 2012 · Aston Villa · Villa Park · Hampden Park · Millennium Stadium · Wales · Scotland · SFA · FAW

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