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Tuesday, 28 May, 2002, 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK
Koppel: Decision saved Dons
Wimbledon chairman Charles Koppel
Fans are bitterly opposed to Koppel
Charles Koppel says the decision to allow Wimbledon to move to Milton Keynes has saved the club.

An independent commission gave the Wimbledon chairman and his consortium permission to move the club 70 miles from its traditional home in Merton on Tuesday.

He now plans to build a 28,000-seater stadium at Denbigh North.

Fans of the club have bitterly opposed the verdict of the independent commission but Koppel told BBC Radio Five Live it was the right one.

"It gives us a lifeline," he said. "At least we have the opportunity to move forward now.


The reality is that Wimbledon faced the very bleak reality of going out of business
Charles Koppel
Wimbledon chairman
"If this move had not been allowed the chances are the club would not have been able to start next seaosn in this league.

"The reality is that Wimbledon faced the very bleak reality of going out of business.

"While we understand that the fans may still disagree with the move, we do feel it's vital that they understand why and that the club's future was dependant on this."

Koppel confirmed that the club would retain its name despite the move.

Former Wimbledon player Warren Barton, now at Derby County, agreed with Koppel.

"Obviously it's sad they are moving but for the club to survive and if it benefits them from moving then so be it.

"It's sad for the fans but for the club to move forward they have to do that.


It will be of great benefit to the city. Milton Keynes is becoming a city of sport
Milton Keynes Council spokesman
"There is a bit of distance to travel but they will have their own home which they have not had for a long time.

Milton Keynes Council spokesman John Cove, of Milton Keynes Council, was excited by the prospect of Division One football coming to the town.

"We will start reaping the benefits of professional sports played at a very high level in Milton Keynes," he said.

"People in Milton Keynes are looking forward to having sport at this level.

"It will be of great benefit to the city. Milton Keynes is becoming a city of sport.

"We have been working with the club to seek ways, once this decision was made, for Wimbledon supporters to continue to support them and come locally."

 VOTE RESULTS
Should Wimbledon move to Milton Keynes?

Yes
 38.60% 

No
 61.40% 

12157 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
Wimbledon are planning to relocate to Milton Keyes

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