Moving Experience In Canada
Scotland took the precaution of learning a bit about the logistics of playing in Canada when they sent their Under 20 squad to play a couple of games against the World Cup host nation back in March. The two game series ended up with honours even with both sides winning a game each. However, Scotland came away winners in lessons learnt. Part of the idea of the March visit was to play at the venue for two of their World Cup games. Even though the second game in March against Canada was played at Royal Athletic Park, things will be different come 1st July. The pitch which has had the likes of Rangers, Hearts and Sunderland play on it is in the final stages of being moved 100 metres and the seating upgraded for the World Cup finals.
FIFA officials toured Royal Athletic Park the other day and liked what they saw as the renovated stadium was given final approval.
As Scotland's World Cup games will be some of the first events played at the refurbished Royal Athletic Park, we wanted to hear how things were progressing as Canada gets ready for the one of the biggest sporting events in their history. We spoke to Dr Suzanne Flannigan, Media Relations Officer for the Victoria Site Organising Committee to get the low-down on progress. She said: "Things are progressing very well. The total capacity is now 11,500 with current and newly installed temporary bleachers. The floodlights are up and the pitch is down and looking good. All the VIP, media, handicapped and corporate suites are nearly complete and the stadium is really beginning to take shape. Ticket sales continue to be very strong for the Scotland game on July 1. While sales have gone well we still have seats available on each game day ."
Scotland will be playing Japan on July 1st which just happens to be Canada Day so things will be pretty busy in Victoria. Dr Flannigan went on: "July 1, 4, 7, and 11 are traditionally busy in Victoria. Throw in these (World Cup) games along with other activities and the entire downtown will be full of people and excitement. The Canada-wide HBC Run is taking place in the morning and then with U20 matches taking place at 2:15 and 5:00 pm (ending at 7:00), we would expect most of those from the stadium to continue into the downtown core for the July 1 festivities and fireworks. Everyone will be out and about!"
As everybody knows, the Tartan Army like a party win, lose or draw so I am confident that many new friends will be made this Canada Day which will live long in the memory.
Ger Harley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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