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SPORT Work begins on Olympic Stadium

Construction work to trans- form the London 2012 Olympic Stadium into a per- manent sports and cultural venue has begun at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. During the work the stadi-

um’s capacity will be reduced from 80,000 to around 60,000 and a new roof will be fitted, covering every seat in the ground and improving the venue’s acoustics. New retractable seating will

also be installed so the lower bowl can be protracted and retracted depending on the type of event taking place, allowing closer pitch side football views while retaining an interna- tional class running track. Work is expected to be completed in time

Te stadium was designed by Populous and built at a cost of £486m

and make it its permanent home in 2016. London Legacy Development Corporation

for the stadium to host five games during the Rugby World Cup in 2015. West Ham United Football Club is due to move into the stadium

(LLDC) has agreed contracts worth more than £67m for the redevelopment on behalf of E20 Stadium Company - a joint partnership between LLDC and London Newham Council set up to manage the venue.

English cities will get new cycling routes Local economies boosted by Premier League

Premier League football is proving to be a huge boost for local economies, attracting both visitors from overseas and rapidly increasing the value of property near foot- ball grounds in the top flight. House prices near Premier

League clubs have more than doubled over the past decade. Tere’s also evidence that

having a Premiership club can help to attract students to universities. Swansea University has

House prices near Premier League clubs have more than doubled

seen a surge in applications since the Swans promotion to the Premier League and for Cardiff University, the number of applications from Malaysia for 2013 are up 36 per cent, likely due in part to Cardiff City’s new Malaysian owner, Vincent Tan. Football has also been a proven catalyst

for regeneration. Te area around Liverpool Football Club is currently subject to a £260m project that will include the construction of a new primary school, health centre, 250 new homes, 100-room hotel and business hub. Details:

Homeless FA gets Big Society Award from Prime Minster

Homeless FA, England’s national football char- ity, has been given a Big Society Award for improving the lives of homeless people. Te charity uses football as the catalyst to

give homeless people in England the opportu- nity to develop their skills and abilities, to gain


self-respect and confidence, to improve their health and ultimately to transform their lives. Since it was set up in 2012, the Homeless FA’s

Training Centre has involved more than 400 players with 250 people receiving qualifications. Details:

Twitter: @leisureopps

Half of wireless market will include health and fitness

Health and fitness devices will make up half of all wireless accessories by 2018, with shipments of app-enabled devices set to hit 170million, according to a new report. Devices considered in the study included

smart watches, smart glasses and other wireless hardware that link to smartphones. Given that more than 50 per cent of wire-

less devices shipped this year will relate to the healthcare industries, the study suggests a multi-channel approach will be necessary for businesses to secure a place in the mar- ket. Details:

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£94m investment to make roads and parks bike friendly

A number of English cities and parks are to share a £94m government cash injection to promote cycling. A total of £77m of the funding will be

spent on improving existing and creating new cycle routes across the country. An additional £17m will be available to

improve cycling paths at four of England’s national parks – New Forest, Peak District, South Downs and Dartmoor. Prime Minister David Cameron said the

announcement includes a commitment to cut red tape that can “stifle cycle-friendly road design.” Details:

Third of football club owners considering selling

More than a third of all club owners in the Football League are considering selling their club in part or completely over the next year, a new survey from accountants BDO LLP has revealed. BDO representatives spoke to finance

directors at 66 clubs from across the Premier League, Football League and Scottish Premiership and found 36 per cent of League One clubs and 28 per cent of Football League Clubs in general have said that they’re considering a full or partial exit. Details:

image: s finn/

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