GSD welcomes Govt ‘monumental U-turn’ on stadium
The GSD yesterday welcomed the announcement that the national football stadium will be located at the site of the Victoria Stadium describing it as a “monumental u-turn by the Government”.
In a statement the Opposition also blasted the handling of the issue.
“During the last four years the GSD has consistently maintained that the Victoria Stadium was the best site for a national stadium and that both the Europa Point and Lathbury Barracks sites were either wholly inappropriate or simply not feasible,” the Opposition said.
“We fought a General Election on that basis and we should not lose site of the fact that for its part, the Government just as consistently argued that the Victoria Stadium site was too limited and restricted in both size and capacity because of proximity to the airport, petrol station, roads, Bayside School and residential areas, to develop into a suitable stadium.”
“In simple terms the Government said it was not possible,” the GSD said.
The Opposition claimed that valuable time has been lost by “initial poor judgment on the part of the Government” and then “sheer bloody minded intransigence in refusing to accept that the Victoria Stadium was the obvious site for this project”.
“In the meantime, hundreds of football supporters have had to travel to Faro for national games when the project could have been completed earlier, if common sense had prevailed,” it added.
“Therefore, while we welcome the announcement, this is a monumental u-turn by the Government and the issue has not been handled well.”
Nonetheless, the GSD also welcomed the announcement that facilities will be developed for other sports with the proceeds of sale of the Victoria site.
It is important that other sports such as Rugby, Cricket and Athletics amongst them, do not lose out or suffer disruption, the GSD said.
“In addition, as we have pointed out in the past, the building of a National Stadium will not deal with the most pressing problem affecting grass roots football today and that is the lack of training pitches.”
“We are glad to see that it is the intention of the Government to deal with this issue but the devil is going to be in the detail and we will await a more detailed expose of those plans.”
The Opposition described the deadline of 2019 for the new facilities as “ambitious” but one which it welcomed.
In the meantime, the Opposition said it will continue to monitor the situation carefully, “as it has over the last four years”.