|HOME | SPORTS | OLYMPICS | NEWS|
|August 31, 2000||
Canberra to replace soccer pitch
Sydney's Olympic organisers have ordered a key soccer venue to be completely returfed because the pitch is not up to standard.
"Our primary objectives are to ensure that Olympic football matches are played in Canberra as scheduled and that the pitch is of the highest possible standard," Knight said in a statement.
"The best chance of achieving both objectives is by the decision we have taken today."
The federal capital is booked to host 11 of the 48 Olympic soccer matches, with the first double-header kicking off on September 13.
The stadium, which is normally used for rugby league and union matches, was relaid earlier this month but the grass, grown in Cairns in tropical north Queensland, suffered thermal shock when it was transferred to Canberra'a freezing temperatures.
Knight said the cost of relaying the pitch would be met by the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government but did not say whether Canberra would be guaranteed to keep its matches.
The president of the Australian Olympic Committee John Coates had earlier said that the final decision on where the games would be played was up to the sport's world governing body FIFA.
The returfing is expected to start next week and take at least three days to complete. FIFA will make the final decision once it inspects the ground.
According to a report in Thursday's Canberra Times, the ACT government is withholding payment to the company which supplied the existing turf.
The newspaper also claimed the government had approved a plan to cover up the damage by spray-painting the surface green before television crews and photographers inspected the pitch on Tuesday.
Mail Sports Editor
TRAVEL | NEWSLINKS
ROMANCE | WEDDING | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | FREE MESSENGER | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK