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Red card for World Cup at Regent's Park

PUBLISHED: 10:07 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:44 07 September 2010

ANGRY residents around Regent s Park are preparing to go into battle to prevent thousands of football fans descending on their home turf this summer. The Friends of Regent's Park group, supported by conservation bodies are mobilising to try

Ben McPartland

ANGRY residents around Regent's Park are preparing to go into battle to prevent thousands of football fans descending on their home turf this summer.

The Friends of Regent's Park group, supported by conservation bodies are mobilising to try to block an application to broadcast matches in this year's World Cup on a big screen to 20,000 fans in the park.

Last week the Ham&High revealed how the Greater London Authority (GLA) has applied to erect a giant screen at Gloucester Green at the North East end of the park towards Camden Town and Primrose Hill.

While many see it as a great event which will benefit the community and London as a whole, opponents say it will leave the park permanently scarred.

Malcolm Kafetz, chairman of the Friends group is calling on residents to object to Camden Council, which has set a deadline of February 17 for responses.

He said: "This is on a different scale to anything that has been staged in the park before. They say they will do everything properly but they always say that and never do.

"You just have to look at the amount of lavatories, which will be around 90 compared to the amount of people and the amount of alcohol being drunk. It is hardly sensible is it? When they held a similar event for the cricket there were people urinating all over the place.

"We have got around 12,000 members and most of them are very annoyed by it. We will be sending out protest cards to people living in the area of the park."

In its 41 page application the GLA, acting on behalf of the world football governing body Fifa say the 2010 World Cup Festival in Regent's Park will "embrace multicultural London" and invite fans of all nations who are living in London.

The event is planned to be staged for 60 out of the 64 matches in this year's world cup being held in South Africa between June 11 and July 11.

There will be space for 18,000 fans who can apply for free tickets to the event as well as around 2,000 corporate seats which will be sold nearer the time.

Organisers say there will be controls on the maximum amount of alcohol that can be purchased by each fan from stalls established around the viewing area.

The Friends of Regent's Park have a successful record when it comes to fighting controversial plans. They were victorious in defeating proposals for a five-a-side football complex to be built on the edge of the park in 2007.

If residents manage to win their campaign this year it could be a blow to England's bringing the World Cup home in 2018.

They claim the "Fan Fest" will "play a significant role in supporting England's bid to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022. It will help bring to life the potential legacy opportunities linked with hosting such a significant and memorable event".

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