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£10m elite academy to transform Welsh rugby and football

19th January 2007

Welsh rugby and football will soon see a transformation of their coaching and training facilities – thanks to a £10m joint venture with The Vale Hotel, Golf and Spa Resort.

Plans for the Hensol Castle Elite Sports Academy close to the grounds of the resort were unveiled today by The Vale Resort’s managing director Stephen Leeke and representatives of the Cardiff Blues. Welsh Rugby Union, the Football Association of Wales and Cardiff City.

The 40-acre development will feature six international-standard training pitches for rugby and football including an artificial grass pitch built to FIFA and IRB specification, a six-lane 400m running track with two 100m sprint tracks and a 30,000sq ft two-storey pavilion providing bespoke office, changing, treatment, meeting and relaxation and catering facilities for each of the four organisations.

“This Academy combined with the existing Indoor Arena will give Wales’ two major sports a superb platform to compete internationally in the 21st century,” said Stephen Leeke. “Rugby and football will have a secure, world class training facility away from the spotlight, yet only 15 minutes from the centre of Cardiff.”

Cardiff Blues Chief Executive Robert Norster said: “We’re competing with the best teams in Europe and we need to be able to match them player for player in fitness, skills and tactics. World class facilities create world class players.

Detailed planning permission has been applied for and work is intended to start in April with the Spring of 2008 as the target for the completion of all the facilities.

The Vale Resort is part of the Leekes Group of Companies whose commitment to Welsh sport has been well documented over many years, with several national and international sports teams already using the existing facilities at the Vale Resort.

Welsh Rugby Union Chief Executive Roger Lewis said: “This facility will come on stream three years ahead of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, giving us time to prepare and groom a squad for the toughest playing environment they’ll ever face.”

The development will provide world class training facilities for Wales’s two major sports, with The Vale Hotel also intending to tender for hosting Olympic training facilities.


The three pdf files below show the plans and artist's impression for the facility. To open each file you will require Adobe Acrobat Reader. The files are up to 1MB in file size. Select to download.