Plans for big screen World Cup matches at Regent's Park
Ben McPartland HORDES of football fans will descend on Regent s Park this summer if the green light is given to televise matches from this year s World Cup on giant screens. Fans who cannot afford to shell out for a ticket to South Africa and are not keen
HORDES of football fans will descend on Regent's Park this summer if the green light is given to televise matches from this year's World Cup on giant screens.
Fans who cannot afford to shell out for a ticket to South Africa and are not keen on watching football on a small television at home will have the chance to join thousands of other supporters to experience the excitement of the World Cup on Gloucester Green in Regent's Park.
But first of all the Greater London Authority, which is pre-paring its application, must convince licensing bosses at Camden Council, the head of Royal Parks and dozens of residents that the screens are a good idea.
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Regent's Park ward councillor Heather Johnson who admits to not being the biggest football fan in the world is behind the plan.
"When it comes to football I don't know one goal post from the other," she said. "But this might just get me into it, especially if it is on a nice summer's evening. This could be a good positive event for Camden residents but it all depends on how it is organised and what effect it has on local residents.
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"There are lots of young people on the estates in Regent's Park who may well be encouraged to go especially if it is free."
There are only 133 days until the World Cup kicks off on June 11 with the final being held in Johannesburg exactly one month later.
In all there will be 64 matches played in South Africa with many England fans confident the home team can make the final.
During the 2006 World Cup the BBC had to close down its own big screen in Canary Wharf after drunken yobs went on the rampage.
And not everyone is enthused by the idea of masses of football fans descending Regent's Park in summer.
Chairman of the Friends of Regent's Park group Malcolm Kafetz said they were keeping a close eye on the proposals.
He said: "If the numbers of people involved looks silly and the timings look silly then we will complain and we are very good at complaining. We are interested in protecting the sanity of the people who live around the park.
"We have enough problems with Lord's and the Twenty20 cricket. It is like a loony bin after the games with people coming out and urinating in people's gardens and behaving particularly badly."
Mr Kafetz believes events like this would be better suited being staged elsewhere.
He said: "Regent's Park is a residential park whereas Hyde Park is not. It is a long way from where people live and most of the buildings around it are commercial, unlike Regent's Park. These things should be in places where they don't cause disruption to residents.