P.107 - Fraser pleads for Palace football to save athletics stadium

Croydon Advertiser, 10 January 2003

Croydon Harriers' Great Britain star Donna Fraser made an impassioned plea this week for Crystal Palace Football Club to move in to save the future of the beleaguered National Sports Centre.

Fraser, who finished fourth in the women's 400m at the Sidney Olympics in 2000, believes that only this plan, which has been I mooted by Eagles in recent seasons, will save the other Palace from impending closure.

Indeed, Eagles housed their Academy set-up at the Ledrington Road, Norwood, site before switching to their current Beckenham training ground in recent seasons.

Meanwhile, the future of the Crystal Palace Centre is under serious threat due to the crisis in National Lottery funding.

Today (Friday) is D-day as, unless Sport England and Bromley Council can reach an agreement at their meeting over future funding, then one of the most historic sports venues in Britain faces closure. This is because Sport England's 35 year lease with Bromley Council ends in March 2004. Fraser, who has been involved in an athletes' "Save The Palace" campaign for five years, said:

"Crystal Palace Football Club moving to Crystal Palace National Sports Centre is the only solution and everybody will benefit from all angles. The scheme would work well and the venue would be used constantly. It would bring in huge revenue for a start and the new site would be able to stage so many events. Why not start this thing from scratch? It is feasible but nobody is willing to think of the obvious solution to this problem."

Fraser, who trains at the centre every day at the moment, is uncertain where she would find an alternative indoor venue if the Palace Centre closes.

The stadium opened on its current site in 1964. And four years later a revolutionary Tartan track, the first in Europe, was laid.

Another historic moment came in 1969 when The Sports Council, now known as Sport England, signed the current lease.

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Last updated 10/1/03;