1. ITV Report

Olympic football training complex almost ready

A training complex for country's who are playing Olympic football at St James' Park is almost ready.

Cochrane Park in Newcastle, has had a £500,000 revamp over the last two years. The facility now has four state-of-the-art football pitches, brand new changing areas, and an anti-doping room.

Nations including Brazil, and current world and European champions Spain, will train at the Newcastle University site during the London 2012 Games.

Nick Beall, Sports Facilities Manager at Newcastle University, said: "Six years ago we first made the bid. Been working on site for two years now trying to get the place ready, ultimately with the goal of seeing as good a football as we can on our site.

"Some of the best footballers in the world are coming down over the couple few weeks. That's really going to be the enjoyment factor for us, and seeing it all come to fruition."

The complex was named an officials Games training venue in 2010 Credit: ITV

Ground staff have been working around the clock to ensure the pitches are in the perfect condition before the teams arrive. Each playing surface has been build with the exact dimensions of the pitch at St James' Park.

Head Groundsman Allan Macdonald said: "There's four pitches all of the same size, which is 105m x 68m, and there's an eight metre boundary round the side.

"Since March we've been on it constantly. We've had no students on so we've been fertilising once a month, spiking once a month, cutting every other day that we could do obviously. But with the rain we've been knocked back a little bit. So I'm getting to the point where I'm thinking about it every night now. Sleeping with it."

Both LOCOG and FIFA has inspected the facilities in recent months, and were impressed by what's on offer. Simon Lunn, Training Venue Manager at Newcastle University, said: "My job is to manage the training venue on behalf of LOCOG.

"I think they'd struggle to find better pitches anywhere. I know there's been a lot of investment in them, but the actual personal treatment that they've had from the ground staff here at Cochrane Park has been terrific.

"I've witnesses the efforts they've put in to try and get them dryer, and try to keep the grass down, and I think they'll be great. I think the players will love it here."

The first team to use the complex will be Gabon on Tuesday 17 July.

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