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sport New facilities for Belfast university

Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has opened new outdoor facilities at Upper Malone playing fields, following a £20m investment in its sports provision. Te project is designed to

establish the institution as one of the leading sports uni- versities in Ireland, with the facilities available to students and the local community. At the centre of the proj-

ect was the construction of the Arena Pitch, one of the only in the UK and Ireland to accommodate football, rugby and Gaelic Games on one single site. Te opening of the facilities marks the com-

Te new Arena Pitch can host football, rugby and gaelic games matches

pletion of a £13m second phase of work, which has also included 14 additional pitches and a spectator stand adjoining a new stand. More than 20 changing rooms and addi- tional changing facilities to the south of the

site have been provided, along with a strength and conditioning suite. Work on the outdoor facilities comes aſter

the first £7m phase was completed in 2006, which included the expansion of the universi- ty’s Physical Education Centre at Botanic. Details:

Te track will be able to host international races One-fifth of football clubs in ‘ill-health’

New research released by cor- porate recovery specialists Begbies Traynor has found that nearly one-fifth of all English Football League clubs are currently showing signs of “financial ill-health”. Te research comes amid

ongoing financial problems affecting Portsmouth and Port Vale football clubs, as well as the Scottish Premier League side, Glasgow Rangers. According to the Red Flag

Alert survey, three clubs in the npower Championship; six in npower League One; and four in npower League Two are facing financial trouble. Begbies Traynor partner Gerald Krasner

said: “Football as an industry suffers from an enormous financial gap between the Premier League and the Football League.

Portsmouth’s financial difficulties have been well-documented recently “One effect of this disparity is that Football

League clubs are oſten tempted to overspend on players to try to gain promotion [to the Premier League], and the promised riches and prestige that come with it.” Details:

Richard Lewis named Wimbledon tennis chief

Te All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) in Wimbledon, London, has announced that Sport England chair Richard Lewis is to become its new chief executive from 1 May. Although he will remain as chair of Sport England, Lewis is to step down from his other


role of Rugby Football League (RFL) chair at the end of the month [April]. Lewis was former director of tennis at the

Lawn Tennis Association before joining the RFL in 2002 – initially as executive chair. Details:

Twitter: @leisureopps

Final approval for Saracens’ stadium vision

Saracens rugby union team has secured final approval for the multi-million pound rede- velopment of London’s Copthall Stadium from communities secretary Eric Pickles. Te Aviva Premiership team’s vision for

Copthall Stadium was approved by Barnet Council in February, with the development expected to cost £18m. Both the national governing bodies for

athletics and rugby union support the plans, which include new permanent facilities and the installation of temporary seating. Read more:

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Major new BMX facility for London’s Burgess Park

Southwark Council has approved plans for the development of a “national standard” BMX track in south London’s Burgess Park, which is undergoing an £8m revamp. Proposals include a 400m (1,312ſt) track

with a starting hill, banked hairpin turns and a variety of jumps. It has been designed for use by people of all ages and abilities. Due for completion in January 2013, the

new venue will be capable of hosting inter- national races and will be one of the first in London to accommodate both summer and winter national events. Details:

Sports clubs receive hosepipe ban guidance

Sport England has made new guidance available to help sports clubs cope with the effects of a hosepipe ban now in effect in a number of areas across the country. Te agency has worked with national

governing bodies to produce the advice, with water a crucial part of maintaining the quality and safe performance of surfaces. Te new guide includes how to maintain

pitches and courts in a time of drought, as well as how to work with water companies to negotiate possible exemptions. Details:

image: m. woodruff/shutterstock

image: ben sutherland

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