Royal Navy's new aircraft carriers sink Portsmouth stadium bid

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The Independent Football

Portsmouth have had to move their plans for a new stadium because the Royal Navy intends to base two new super aircraft carriers close to the original site.

The Hampshire club have shifted the site for the 36,000-seater stadium to Horsea Island from The Hard where its proximity to the Royal Navy base was a cause for what the club described as "operational and security concerns".

Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie is confident the move will not delay the new ground. He said: "The club is delighted that the Royal Navy here in Portsmouth is to be the home for the new carriers and destroyers.

"Clearly our plans have had to change as a result. We have always had a very good working relationship with the Royal Navy and once the new commissions were confirmed the Navy and the city council encouraged and worked with us in identifying another waterfront site for the stadium.

"The new site fits all the criteria as before and, in addition, creates new opportunities which will also enable us to be in the new stadium by 2011 as originally planned." The club intend to submit a planning application next year.

Portsmouth's opponents this afternoon are West Ham and the Hammers' chairman, Eggert Magnusson, yesterday called for the Premier League to consider staging matches in the US to boost the game's profile in North America.

"I can see that happening sooner rather than later – it would be good for the game," Magnusson said.

The Premier League is home to several US-based owners, with Manchester United, Liverpool and Aston Villa all in American hands, and tomorrow sees the first ever NFL American Football game played outside the US taking place at Wembley Stadium.

A Premier League spokesman said there were no current plans for a move, however. "I just don't see it happening," he said.

Meanwhile, American billionaire Robert Kraft – who came close to buying Liverpool in 2005 – said he is still interested in buying a Premier League club.

"We do still have an interest in playing in the Premier League," he said. "It's a wonderful and global game. I love the passion of the football fans here in the United Kingdom."

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