Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to open national football centre near Burton
THE Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to open the new national football centre near Burton.
The royal couple will visit the site on Tuesday, October 9, and join specially-invited guests to celebrate the opening of St George's Park – which will be home to all 24 national squads.
It has 11 football pitches, including three community pitches, two hotels and state-of-the-art medical and training facilities. Prince William – who is the honorary president of the Football Association, will officially unveil the centre, located on the 330-acre site at Rangemore, following its completion in July.
Key figures from the nearby community and young players will also meet the royal party, before they greet staff from the FA, Hilton Hotels and Spire Healthcare – which operate the three main facilities at St George's Park.
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The Duke and Duchess will also meet England manager Roy Hodgson and his squad as they train there for the first time ahead of their 2014 World Cup qualification game against San Marino three days later.
Hope Powell, England women's national coach – joined by members of her squad – will then meet the couple as they tour the centre, community-use pitches and Sport England pavilion.
David Bernstein, FA chairman, said: "The opening of St George's Park is truly a momentous occasion in our history.
"Next year, we will celebrate the association's 150th anniversary and this moment will be recorded as significant as any that has gone before us in the last 149 years.
"We are particularly delighted that both the Duke and Duchess can join us to open this new centre."
David Sheepshanks, chairman of St George's Park, said: "This is a wonderful reward for all those who have worked so hard to bring St George's Park to reality.
"The local community has embraced every aspect and this will be a red letter day for Burton and the surrounding locality."