Miccio's grandstand goal

JAMES GREENLAND
Last updated 08:01 24/01/2013
fifa delegation
MARION VAN DIJK/FAIRFAX NZ

KICKING OFF: Mayor Aldo Miccio, left, with Peter O'Hara, Local Organising Committee interim project manager and Rhiannon Martin, FIFA Senior Competitions manager during their visit to Trafalgar Park.

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A new grandstand at Trafalgar Park would make a "good legacy project for the city", says Nelson Mayor Aldo Miccio.

Though not currently on the books, a new 3000-5000 person covered grandstand was "on the council's radar", as the old stand would have to be replaced one day, he said.

Discussions around a new grandstand have stemmed from the increasing use of Trafalgar Park, by teams such as the Makos and Nelson Football's Falcons, as well as the council's latest ambition to secure pool matches for the under-20 Fifa football world cup in 2015.

"We have talked about creating a shared sports base there," Mr Miccio said. "It's something that should be considered."

A delegation of Fifa officials inspected Trafalgar Park yesterday, and looked at accomodation for players and officials. Saxton Field was considered as a training facility.

Mr Miccio said the international football federation thought Nelson had "first class accomodation, first class training facilities and a first class stadium".

Football New Zealand and the Nelson City Council needed to "work through the finer details" over the next three weeks, but the mayor thought the city had a very good chance.

"We are very hopeful our facilities are up to scratch."

Nelson was Fifa's third stop on a nationwide venue tour, which would include nine centres.

Between six and eight centres would be selected by Fifa as world cup venues.

The eight-person delegation - based out of Zurich, Switzerland - was impressed by Trafalgar Park's eco-friendly turf and Nelsonians' limited but succesful experience with international tournaments - after hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

"We heard about the rugby and the temporary stand," delegation leader Rhiannon Martin said.

Ms Martin suggested the city council might upgrade the stand at Trafalgar Park to include more permanent seating, as opposed to relying on the temporary stand used during the Rugby World Cup.

"We have used temporary infrastructure before, though," she said.

Ms Martin said Nelson stood out as a clean, green, grassroots venue, particulary because of the turf at Trafalgar Park, which Mr Miccio said was "the greenest pitch in Australasia" because it substitued recycled glass for sand.

"Fifa is always looking at opportunities for football development and grass roots," Ms Martin said. "Any way we can think of having a green world cup and keeping the environment in consideration is good."

Mr Miccio said Nelson would greatly benefit from the football tournament, mostly in terms of exposure, as television audiences were expected to reach between 350-450 million viewers.

"Just like the World Cup, there are two levels of benefit; community engagement and the festival atmosphere that a tournament like this creates, and second, exposure to huge TV audiences.

"Nelson would definitely benefit from an increase in tourism, whether it's 10 extra tourists or 1000.

"It's important Nelson is up there with other New Zealand cities [that host the football tournament], otherwise we will lose tourists to Napier or to Christchurch."

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