Villa Park steps down

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Villa Park, home of Aston Villa Football Club in Birmingham in the UK, will no longer be used as one of London 2012's venues for the preliminary rounds in the Olympic football tournament. The club has confirmed that it is considering plans for major development work at Villa Park over the next few years. Whilst these plans are being developed, the club is unable to commit fully to hosting matches as part of the London 2012 Olympic football competition. The London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has been working with its selected football venues over the past eight months progressing and confirming plans across the tournament, and needed firm commitments from all the host stadia. It has been agreed with Aston Villa that because it is unable to make firm commitments to the project, the best course of action is for Villa Park to be withdrawn as an Olympic venue. The venue, with a seating capacity of around 42, 600, has previously staged football internationals and domestic FA Cup semifinals. In other London 2012 news, LOCOG has appointed the London Marathon to manage the Olympic and Paralympic Marathons in 2012 and assist in the design of the courses. In a unique arrangement, the London Marathon will provide, as required by LOCOG, personnel and equipment at no cost to ensure that the courses are the best designed in the world in terms of the route, athletes' needs and in providing a visually stunning backdrop of the city.

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