Sports Politics: Crystal Palace unveils plans for pounds 40m multi-spor t complex

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The Independent Online
The National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace could soon be transformed into a pounds 40m state-of-the-art venue catering for top-level sports, including athletics, swimming, tennis, basketball, American football and rugby union.

If it is given the green light, 90 per cent of the cost of the new complex will be funded by money from the Lottery Sports Fund. It will take two years to build and open in the autumn of 2001.

The highlights of the development will include a 20,000-seater venue capable of hosting grand prix and international athletics meetings, plus winter training programmes for high-standard sprinters, jumpers and throwers.

The complex will become the home of the England Monarchs American football team and a Budweiser Premier League bastketball club. It will house the only public 50-metre swimming pool in London and the south-east of England and its tennis facilities will boast an indoor venue capable of hosting Davis Cup and ATP Tour matches, with seating for 5,000 spectators.

A grass infield is earmarked to become the home of an Allied Dunbar Premiership rugby union team.

The English Sports Council has committed up to pounds 200,000, which will be matched by Bromley Council, to support a design team to draw up detailed plans. The design team will be chosen on 12 December and their plans will be submitted to the Lottery Sports Fund next March.

The area will also house a commercial site, which will include multiplex cinemas, tenpin bowling, bars and restaurants.

Prize-money totalling almost pounds 3m will be on offer at the World Athletics Cup in Johannesburg next September.