Soccer match at stadium still a go

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Investors Group Field has avoided a red card over design problems less than four weeks before a Canada-U.S. women's soccer game.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/04/2014 (3219 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Investors Group Field has avoided a red card over design problems less than four weeks before a Canada-U.S. women’s soccer game.

The “friendly” will go on as planned May 8, according to both the Canadian Soccer Association and stadium officials.

“Everything is on schedule for our match. We’re looking forward to bringing this international match to Winnipeg,” said a spokeswoman for the CSA.

Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press The sun sets during the inaugural game at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg on June 27, 2013.

The discovery last week that the spring melt caused an undetermined amount of damage to luxury suites and the visitors’ dressing room at the more than $208.5-million facility is not a concern, the spokeswoman said.

“We’re in constant communication with the staff working at the stadium and everything was under control from the beginning. Nothing has impacted our planning,” the spokeswoman said.

Since the new home to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers opened at the University of Manitoba’s Fort Garry campus last June, it has been beset with numerous problems, including handrails that had to be replaced, plumbing that was not insulated and crawl spaces that required fireproofing. The stadium was also built without an enclosed press box, a deficiency the club plans to correct with the help of a $350,000 sponsorship.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers spokeswoman Kim Babij-Gesell said plans have remained unchanged since the water damage was discovered.

“Everything will absolutely be ready and there won’t be any areas that will be off limits. There will be a soccer game here on May 8 and the stadium will be gorgeous,” she said.

“There is absolutely no reason why we won’t be ready for May 8.”

The game, dubbed the Women’s International Friendly, featuring Winnipegger Desiree Scott and captain Christine Sinclair on the home side, marks the first time the women’s national team has hosted a game in Winnipeg since 1990.

Nearly 18,000 tickets were sold the first day they went on sale to the public in mid-February. Things have slowed down somewhat since then, but sales have surpassed the 22,500 mark, according to the CSA. Central sections of the lower bowl are mostly sold out but there are plenty of seats available in the end zones.

Héctor Vergara, executive director of the Manitoba Soccer Association, said there has been no discussion of any event-impacting issues or moving the game to another venue in a different city.

“We’re very supportive of the game. We still have a few weeks yet, hopefully the weather will get warmer,” he said.

In March, the province announced an additional $8.5 million in funding for the stadium, characterizing the work as upgrades to host the Grey Cup and other cold-season events.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

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