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Old 30th March 2011, 11:08   #1
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Default West Ham to upgrade Olympic stadium

West Ham to upgrade Olympic stadium

* Matt Scott
* The Guardian, Wednesday 30 March 2011

West Ham United will spend 90m on a stadium upgrade in an effort to fix the problems suffered by other football-club tenancies of Olympic stadiums.

The Hammers take over the Stratford site after the Paralympic Games next year. Then they will direct a sum equivalent to that Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson spent on his ill-fated takeover of the club in 2006. The experience of other clubs who have moved in to purpose-built Olympic stadiums suggests West Ham have their work cut out in getting it right. The US private-equity investor Thomas DiBenedetto was quoted by the Gazzetta Dello Sport yesterday that the Stadio Olimpico does not serve Roma, the club he is buying this week, sufficiently well.

"The Olimpico simply just do justice to the fans' passion; the stands are too far away from the pitch and the noise from the crowd is not the same at that distance," said DiBenedetto. "A new stadium is a must, an English-style stadium so that it benefits the players too." Roma's difficulties may relate as much to the age of the stadium it is 52 years old. However there have been similar complaints from Espanyol about their occupancy of the 20-year-old Barcelona Olympic stadium. West Ham insist their fans will benefit from a vibrant atmosphere, will invest in retractable seating and a new roof, in an effort to keep the noise in.
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