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Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2007, 20:26 GMT
Welsh sport bodies unveil academy
Representatives of the planned Hensol Castle Elite Sports Academy
The academy aims to encourage a range of sports at one site
Plans for a 10m sports academy for Welsh rugby, football and elite athletes have been unveiled.

The 40-acre scheme at Hensol Castle in the Vale of Glamorgan is set to feature six training pitches, running tracks and a two-storey pavilion.

Cardiff City FC, Cardiff Blues rugby club, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and Football Association of Wales (FAW) have joined forces on the project.

The WRU said its involvement depends on a 1.5m sports council grant.

The 17th Century stately home was bought in 2003 by the family which also owns the adjoining Vale golf resort.

Work to transform the meadow in front of the castle into international-standard pitches is expected to start in March and be completed by the spring of 2008.

The work will include a 30,000 sq ft (0.28 hectare) two-storey pavilion for the rugby and football organisations.

One pitch has already been laid for the FAW, in collaboration with FIFA. Other facilities will be a six-lane 400m running track with two 100m sprint tracks.

Wales' rugby team already train in the indoor facility at the complex known as the barn.


The scheme is a joint venture between the sporting bodies and the Vale Hotel, whose managing director Stephen Leeke said: "Rugby and football will have a secure, world class training facility away from the spotlight, yet only 15 minutes from the centre of Cardiff."

In 2003, store tycoon Gerald Leeke bought Hensol Castle for a rumoured 5m.

Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas were thought to be among the 30-strong group of bidders interested in buying the property, which also includes a landscape park, 15-acre lake and serpentine pond.

Five-star hotel plans for castle
06 Apr 06 |  South East Wales
Shop tycoon buys 'jewel' castle
26 Sep 03 |  Mid Wales
Zeta linked with castle bid
21 Oct 02 |  Wales

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