Banks backs pounds 10m plan

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The Independent Online
THE GOVERNMENT is to launch a new drive to modernise sports grounds, it was announced yesterday.

After the 10th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster last week, ministers are to extend the role of the Football Licensing Authority so it can advise other sports which use outdoor stadiums on safety. The body, to be renamed the Sports Ground Safety Authority, will recommend what stadiums should do to update facilities and act as a watchdog to ensure standards are maintained.

In another move the English Sports Council - now working under the title Sport England - is to fund a pounds 10m initiative to pay for safety improvements at major rugby league, rugby union and county cricket grounds.

The sports minister, Tony Banks, said: "The Government is determined that all sports spectators be able to enjoy the action in safety and comfort. Many major stadia have been improved beyond measure since the Taylor Report but we cannot be complacent."