Badminton Life

London Proposes Wembley Arena for Badminton

Organisers of the London 2012 Olympic badminton competition are seriously considering using the famous Wembley Arena to stage the sport's five disciplines.

It was originally proposed to build a temporary arena in London to host the badminton and rhythmic gymnastics events.

However, after badminton's huge success at the Beijing Olympics in August, London is now thinking about putting it in Wembley, which was the home of the All England Championships from 1957 to 1993 before moving to Birmingham.

All talk of building new venues for a variety of sports in the 2012 programme have to be revisited following the global financial crisis that has rocked stock markets and decimated major banks around the world.

The proposed temporary arena was to cost around ¡ê40 million, which is probably a waste given Wembley Arena is a ready-made venue with a prestigious background.

Wembley holds around 6,000 spectators, ideal for badminton, though organisers would have to make certain adjustments to the overall structure to meet Olympic requirements.

Because of the credit crunch, London is struggling to fulfill its budget of a little more than ¡ê9 billion. It is believe that a further ¡ê3 billion will be necessary in order to ensure a smooth games with completed facilities.

A statement from London 2012 organisers said: "Clearly in the current economic climate it is prudent to look at our temporary venues to see what other alternatives may exist using permanent structures. This process is underway.

"No decisions have been made and it is by no means definite that these sports will move but, in the current economic climate, examining all options is the sensible thing to do."

Some negative issues with Wembley Arena are that it is quite far from the intended Olympic Village in Stratford, requiring a one-hour drive. In addition it does not have enough space for extra accreditation and hospitality facilities.

A key requirement is adequate lounge space for the players to rest between games.

If London were to change the venue for badminton, it would need permission from the International Olympic Committee, which is unlikely to oppose such a move.

Early indication from badminton officials is that they would look favourably upon such a move.

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