October 17 - Birmingham City's new owners have been urged to try to persuade London 2012 to pick them to replace Villa Park to host football matches during the Olympics.


Martin Mullaney, the Birmingham City Councillor who is the cabinet member for Leisure, Sport and Culture, has claimed that St. Andrew's has the facilities to stage games if the club's new owner Carson Yeung, who completed his takeover of the Premiership side for £81 million earlier this month, is prepared to push the case.


Mullaney said: "We are very keen to meet the new owners to discuss their plans for City and to offer our help.


“We will ask them to look at the Olympics."


Villa Park was originally one of the grounds chosen to stage matches but Aston Villa pulled out in August because it could not guarantee planned redevelopment work would be completed in time for 2012.


Several clubs across the Midlands, including Coventry City, Derby County and Leicester City, have now put themselves forward as alternative venues.


Derby's Pride Park and Leicester's Walkers Stadium are also being considered as potential venues for England's 2018 World Cup bid but Mullaney claims that St. Andrew's could step in to replace Villa Park for 2012.


He said: "St Andrew’s has the capacity and only needs some cosmetic work to be ready for the tournament."


Potential stadia have to meet International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules, including being all-seater with a 30,000 capacity.


St. Andrew's just meets that criteria with a capacity of 30,079 but is generally considered to be one of the worst grounds in the Premiership and Birmingham City have been actively seeking to move to a new stadium for several years now.
St Andrew's is also unlikely to be offer the facilities needed to entertain corporate guests under guidelines laid down by the IOC and London 2012.


Birmingham City Council was previously involved in the planning of a new Birmingham City Stadium on the Wheels site at Adderley Park, which eventually fell through.


A final decision on which ground will replace Villa Park is expected to be announced early in 2010.



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August 2009: Birmingham City put forward as alternative for Villa Park

August 2009: Villa Park pull out opens Olympic door for Coventry