Home About the Association Become a Member Register for Newsletters/Updates Contact Us
Tell a Neighbour/Friend
Community Links
Association Rules
Privacy Policy - Terms & Conditions
IRB backs Eden Park upgrade
By JIM KAYES - The Press
Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Eden Park's controversial $180 million World Cup facelift has been rubber-stamped by the International Rugby Board's World Cup Ltd.

IRB and World Cup Ltd chairman Syd Millar said yesterday that the upgraded facility would be better than what had been proposed when the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) successfully bid for the 2011 World Cup in November 2005.

He had no concerns about the standard of Eden Park for the IRB's glamour event and was confident work would be completed 18 months before the World Cup kicks off in September 2011.

What we heard today was very positive, Millar said.

The work that is going on at Eden Park is more than satisfactory. It fulfils the criteria New Zealand tendered on and in fact it will be better.

Millar confirmed the IRB had been aware of the often heated debate that had swirled around whether Eden Park should be upgraded or a new stadium built on Auckland's waterfront.

Other options included develop ing Albany's North Harbour Stadium or building a new stadium on the site of the dilapidated Carlaw Park.

The NZRU made an hour-long presentation to World Cup Ltd in Auckland yesterday before the delegation flies to Wellington tonight for a meeting with Sports Minister Trevor Mallard tomorrow.

Millar was at his diplomatic best when he declared the stadium debate irrelevant to the IRB as the upgrade to Eden Park ticked all the boxes.

There were no concerns about the use of up to 20,000 temporary seats.

They were extensively used at stadiums in Europe and for the 2000 and 2004 Olympics in Sydney and Athens.

Who will foot the bill remains the only point of serious conjecture, with NZRU chairman Jock Hobbs pre pared to say only that it was for the Government to work out.

Hobbs said work at Eden Park would start in about a year and would take about two more years to complete.

The biggest job was the rebuilding of the southern stand.

It was hoped games could still be played at Eden Park during construction.

Other grounds are also being upgraded or rebuilt, including an ambitious proposal to build an indoor rugby stadium in Dunedin and a new stadium in Whangarei.

Hobbs said up to 12 venues would be used, but which ones and for what games would not be known for another year.