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Tuesday, 28 May, 2002, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Dons' Milton Keynes move disastrous?
Fans are opposed to the move to Milton Keynes
An independent commission has given Wimbledon permission to build a new stadium in Milton Keynes.

Is this the right move for the club?

HAVE YOUR SAY

A consortium, led by chairman Charles Koppel, wants to build a new 28,000-seat stadium at Denbigh North in Milton Keynes.

The FA had initially blocked the proposal, but Koppel won an appeal to have the matter reconsidered.

The Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association are opposed to the move 50 miles from their traditional home in Merton, but Koppel argues it is the only way the struggling First Division club will survive.

Is the move Wimbledon's only hope for the future?


This debate is now closed. A selection of your e-mails appear below.


To the precious few that have written on here backing the move: Have you ever owned a season ticket? Have you ever travelled the country every season supporting YOUR team from YOUR town? Have you had to endure playing away from home for 10 years? The answer to the last question is undoubtedly 'No' as it's obvious you're not Dons fans.

This is plain wrong and the FA have sold English Football's soul.
Richard Beeching, in Australia

If this is the only way that the club can survive then they should make the move. Better that than drift down the leagues or go under.
Guy, New York, USA

This whole process and the claiming of Wimbledon's circumstances as "exceptional" have just been completely negated by one of the club's owner's pledging to put £40 million into the Milton Keynes Stadium. That would have been what was needed to buy Plough Lane back and build a stadium there. Unbelievable.
Simon Gibbons, Luxembourg

The move is a misjudged, badly timed investment, which Wimbledon fans will have to pay for. As Mr K, foundering in football's financial mire, misguidedly decides that a move to MK will solve his problems. Anyone with an iota of footballing sense knows that this move is doomed to failure, both financially and in footballing terms.
Steve Cope, UK

To add insult to injury, Koppel wants to keep the name Wimbledon FC. He should change the name, as it has nothing to do with Wimbledon any more. We, the fans, will use the name to start a new club in Wimbledon, one which has some respect for those that pay its wages.
Nick Reed, UK

I think that Wimbledon moving to MK is a good thing for football, as it will ensure another club is assured a decent future. MK has 250,000 residents living within a 10 minutes drive away and has wanted a decent football team for many years. Wimbledon will be welcomed with open arms if they make the change.
Dave, England

They have killed a magical little club and have shown that money matters more than football. This "franchising" as people have called it, marks the death of the English game to which I wish nothing but woe if this move goes ahead.
Michael Pantridge, N.Ireland

I just want to quote Jock Stein: "Football without supporters is nothing". RIP Wimbledon Football Club, roll out the franchises.
Mark Harris, Essex


Would they let the tennis go so easily?
Keith , England
Many football clubs have moved, and their names bear no resemblance to where they play now. Chelsea play in Fulham, West Ham used to play in Canning Town, and now play at in Upton Park, (Woolwich) Arsenal now play at Highbury, and are soon to move again. If the good people of SW19 really supported Wimbledon, rather than Man Utd they would not need to move.
Paul, UK

A terrible decision and a bad day for football. I only hope Merton Council step in to prevent part of its history and heritage being shopped 70 miles away. Would they let the tennis go so easily?
Keith , England

Will the new ground be called Koppel's Folly? Despite living in the so-called Milton Keynes' catchment area, I won't be deserting Luton to watch Division One football in a new stadium. It might take a few years longer but I'll wait until my team does it on their own accord.
Mark, Bedford, UK

It just proves that the money men only have their eyes on profits, not the fans. This will backfire on Milton Keynes, and Wimbledon fans will be watching their team playing in South London in a minor league.
Clive Procter, London UK

I arrived in England in 1988 and lived in Wimbledon, Mitcham & Carshalton for 14 years. I was captivated by this wonderful club and supported them until I came back home to Sydney recently. Koppel & the FA have killed a dear friend of ours and may Wimbledon FC rest in peace - I will always remember the great times we had together.
Steven Pajor, Australia

If people in Merton had been showing such an interest in their club for the past ten years then maybe they wouldn't have to move. I'm afraid the reality is that Wimbledon are a struggling minor club who had one moment of glory.
James Elliott, UK


What has happened is a disgrace
Paul Quinn, St Albans, UK

They do not deserve their fans support and should have to surrender their club name - they will no more represent Wimbledon from Milton Keynes than I would in Middlesbrough.
Baz, UK

The move to MK means Wimbledon playing closer to where I live than the present trek to Selhurst Park. However, I will not make that journey. What has happened is a disgrace.
Paul Quinn, St Albans, UK

The move to Milton Keynes is a misnomer. This is not a move, it is the death of a club. Whatever emerges at Milton Keynes cannot be related to the club founded as Wimbledon Old Centrals, that through much of the 60's dominated English amateur football, won the old FA Amateur Cup, then won the Southern League year after year before belatedly becoming a Football League member.
Ivan, UK

Despite reservations regarding the 'franchising' of clubs, I think the extraordinary success of Livingstone (after spending years as Edinburgh lowliest club, Meadowbank) provides an example of what can happen when a failing club (which Wimbledon are in real danger of becoming) makes a radical move. Perhaps MKFC will get a UEFA Cup spot in a few seasons. It can be done!
Angus Mc, UK


I would prefer us playing semi-professional football
James Owens, Ex-pat in Australia

I hope that this is not the first step in a move towards the American franchise system, whereby club owners are able to uproot teams and place them where economic conditions are more favourable. This is a sad day for all true football fans.
Steve Carter, UK

Hate to say it but as a Dons fan for over 17 years and a season ticket holder for the majority of them, I would prefer us playing semi-professional football in the lower divisions in the Merton region than playing Premiership football in MK.
James Owens, Ex-pat in Australia

So, we have a club named after a South London town, owned by Norwegians, chaired by a South African, and located in Bedfordshire. I hope that all football fans will now boycott 'MKWFC' games - 'home' or away. If not, big business has won again, and the spirit of football will have been dealt a mortal blow.
Richard Moore, UK


A nauseating decision, one that runs a cold knife through the heart of English football
Peter Ryan, London
Surveys have shown more people will watch The Dons in Wimbledon than in Milton Keynes. I hope the team plummet into nothing, which of course they will as this is all just a ploy to have a stadium with a massive shopping complex - this is nothing to do with football. They want a stadium - and Wimbledon have got to fill it. If this is the way English football is going - I am glad to be out of it. Thanks for the great times my beloved club, you will be missed immensely.
Adam Beal, England

I do not know how the FA can claim this is not going to be repeated when they would seem to have sanctioned the deal. If the administrator of Bradford City claimed it was essential to move the club to, say, Worcester I do not see the FA being legally able to stop it now a precedent has been established.
Tony Draper, UK

This is just wrong. To kill a football club in this horrible way is a disgrace. I want to give my support to all the true Wimbledon supporters out there who have been and will be fighting this move! And to every football loving person who knows deep in their heart that this is wrong stand up and speak out!
Pelle B, Sweden

I'm a Chelsea supporter, so I have no vested interest, but I think it's a disgrace that they're being moved. If Koppel wants a club in Milton Keynes then fair enough - start up a new club there and get on with being promoted up the leagues. Buying a club at First Division level and then flouting all the rules on moving so that you can take advantage of a property deal is a disgrace and a black day for football in England.
Leroy Fevrius, England

A couple of years ago Luton Town's plans were rejected by the FA to move to Milton Keynes on the basis that it was too far. MK is 20miles maximum from Kenilworth Road. How can they accept Wimbledon's bid to move 60 miles to Milton Keynes?
James Baker, UK


Wimbledon is leaking money so fast it's untrue
Rhys Jaggar, UK
It is significant that within a few kilometres of Milton Keynes, Luton Town and Northampton Town struggle with crowds of under 6000 each. Both these towns are of comparable size to Milton Keynes but with the significant advantage of having a long tradition of football for over 100 years. I cannot understand how a move to Milton Keynes will result in larger crowds in a town where most people, if they are interested in football, already have an allegiance. It is vital that Wimbledon stay in South London for their own fans, and for the fans of other clubs who may decide to attempt to follow suit.
Alex, UK

A nauseating decision, one that runs a cold knife through the heart of English football. Incomprehensible logic from a football point of view, so money rules OK! I hope that MK Dons go bust quickly and that Real Wimbledon flourish...
Peter Ryan, London

If Charles Koppel completes this move, as now seems likely, I shall not support this club any longer. I have supported Wimbledon for 22 years and would not now support a club that is only "Wimbledon FC" in name only. With the move it becomes Milton Keynes FC and as such should change its name to reflect this. It is a sad reflection on the FA, personally I would have rather seem the club fold than for this to happen.
Paul Silk, England


It is vital that Wimbledon stay in South London for their own fans
Alex, UK
Well this signals the end of my 20 year support of Wimbledon Football Club. I will watch the collapse of MK Dons from afar, and with no real satisfaction. This is a very sad day indeed for supporters of Wimbledon Football Club and those who appreciate the sport's traditions.
Martin Allen-Smith, Cambridgeshire, UK

There's a lot of hypocrisy written here. Wimbledon is leaking money so fast it's untrue. The reason is that they are paying players huge wages without the revenue to support it. In the absence of TV money, the only way to improve revenues is to increase gates. To do that, they need a stronger fan base and a decent ground.

I'm sure the Wimbledon board would be happy to hand over all the funding of the club to those loyal supporters who bleat but don't stem the financial disaster. Put up or shut up!
Rhys Jaggar, UK

The FA have proven once and for all that the fans mean nothing. How easy is it to be a loyal Man U fan with a Sky season ticket, yet Dons fans travelled to 46 away games a season for years but we didn't count. All supporters of 'little' clubs will be looking over their shoulders now.
Fazza, New Malden, UK

It's another nail in the coffin of the ordinary fan supporting his local side. Soon the FA will have us all supporting franchised teams like in the US, where if you don't get bums on seats you lose your team. I also think the people of the Milton Keynes region are unlikely to go and watch First Division football, when those who don't already follow a side properly are only interested in watching Man U on the telly.
Angus Blundell, UK


The move is not the death of Wimbledon, it's a rebirth
Clive C, England
Get a grip! Why should anyone carry on pumping their own cash into a failing business just to pander to a vocal minority? If you wanted the Dons to stay here, you should have been packing Selhurst in sufficient numbers to make it a genuinely local going concern. What's the average attendance?
Bob, Merton, London

Welcome the Dons...! I genuinely feel sorry for all genuine Wimbledon fans. Despite limited numbers supporters have followed this club through thick and thin. That said, the move to Milton Keynes is a good and sensible move; it can only help. The potential supporter base here is 'fan'tastic, this will surely allow this great club to mature as genuine Premiership contenders.

It's a sad fact of life than money plays such a large part in big corporate decisions like this; I suspect this had much to do with the final analysis. If only Wimbledon FC had had more support on their turf, the need to move would not have existed. The move to MK is not the death of Wimbledon, it's a rebirth - I for one welcome the club and ALL their fans¿.
Clive C, England


For a club to move away from its fans is sad indeed
Ben Traynor, UK
An absolute disgrace. Clubs should be about the community they serve and the fans. Who will be next? Now the FA has made this decision no doubt they will allow other clubs to relocate wherever they like. I will no longer be supporting Wimbledon FC until they move back to Plough Lane. A sad day for all football clubs, not just Wimbledon. I do hope the FA and Mr Koppel think its worth it, as a fan I don't. Goodbye Wimbledon.
Mary Johnson, UK

The only fans I can think of who travel that far to see their team play a HOME game are either fans who don't come from that area, or those who've moved away from their club. For a club to move away from its fans is sad indeed.
Ben Traynor, UK

I hope MK Frankenstein F.C is strangled at birth and the name Wimbledon F.C. is retained by a club that actually represents the people and the area of Wimbledon.
Brian Molloy, UK

All of this could have been avoided if they had allowed the Dons planning permission a lot sooner for either an extension of Plough Lane or the Wandle Valley and Beddington Lane developments. The planned move to MK is a cynical betrayal of Wimbledon's supporters, staff (c.f. Terry Burton's sacking) and traditions. Thank heavens that the late Chairman Stanley Reed is not around to see it happen.
John Barrett, England


A sad sad day for Wimbledon, for football and for sport in general
Rohan, UK
The FA as usual does what its letters suggest. It's all about marketing a commodity with a view to making money. Business doesn't care about community and doesn't care if the devil himself showed up with a view to investment. I would like to use stronger language but obviously will be prevented from doing so.
Bruce, England

Milton Keynes is about as Americanised a town as there is in this country. What better place to give birth to franchising in this fine nation?
Dave, Milton Keynes, UK

A sad sad day for Wimbledon, for football and for sport in general. I find it unbelievable that corporate greed has triumphed once again over sport. Perhaps the FA might have learnt something after the ITV digital fiasco, but unfortunately it would appear that money talks louder than any true supporter ever can.
Rohan, UK

Mr Koppel is making a commercial mistake. As any football fan knows, success does not guarantee supporters - loyalty and character do (e.g. Manchester City following goes on and on through thick and thin - it makes the derby games special for all Manchester people). I think Wimbledon have evolved over the years in their rise to fame. Going from 'Crazy Gang' to FA Cup Winners showed great character and whenever Manchester United played them I was always on edge because they could grind out amazing results when you least expected it. It's a tragedy for the club and its followers. Good luck in the future.
Kieron, UK


It's another nail in the coffin of the ordinary fan supporting his local side
Angus Blundell, UK
As a former resident of Milton Keynes and a lifelong Luton fan, I'll believe the move when it actually happens. It will have a detrimental effect on the support of Northampton Town and Luton Town however. But Luton do get another local rival.
David, Canada

It's the right move for Wimbledon. If they don't move from Selhurst Park, where they are losing thousands of pounds every week, they will go bankrupt within a few years. It's unfortunately move or die.
Richard Gilbert, London

I think people are missing the point here. Let's get the important things straight first. Like, does Wimbledon have a cheerleading squad?
Dave Roberts, Milton Keynes, UK

I have been supporting Wimbledon since 1974 and I am very dismayed at the outcome of the Independent Commission, who have not really taken into account the thoughts of the Supporters. Obviously money talks in these situations.
Sandra Lowne, UK

It worked well for Scottish 3rd division Meadowbank Thistle FC when they moved to 20 miles to Livingston. However, their fan base was very small before and they took up the name of their new home town. I can't see "Milton Keynes FC" getting such an easy transition without giving up the ghost of Wimbledon - which I don't think would go down too well.
Fin, Aberdeen, UK


It still hasn't sunk in that the team I have supported for 25 years appears to be finished
Danny, England

Yes, to move is the only option on a business front. There is too much sentiment attached to this. Milton Keynes has a large catchment of 300,000 people and there is no doubt that a large section would follow the local team.

Success will naturally follow. If the present supporters love their club so much, then move with them. Quality of life is here.
Mike Evans, UK

The team should move. There is a compelling business need to make a move to a greater market site. We see it all the time here in the US, and the teams flourish.
Peter Abbott, USA

Money is king. The FA are no better than Sepp Blatter and cannot complain when they get double-crossed by Fifa or Uefa at some point in the future. Devastated.
Dom Heard, Ireland

It still hasn't sunk in that the team I have supported for 25 years appears to be finished. From our first league game, to successive promotions, to winning the FA Cup and staying in the top flight for 14 seasons.

All that was achieved without bags of money and without Charles Koppel and our current owners. We'll be back...
Danny, England


A lot of baseball fans in the USA are already fed up with it and the 'bleachers' are deserted
Paul Tucker, South London

My heart goes out to Wimbledon fans and to English football. Only the money men count now. In ten years time half of the English clubs will have folded or merged while the remainder will be like United States franchise clubs.

No semblance of sport or community here, just profits. A lot of baseball fans in the USA are already fed up with it and the 'bleachers' are deserted.
Colin Richardson, Canada

As a Palace fan I am glad to see the Dons depart south London for Milton Keynes. Perhaps the playing surface at Selhurst Park might improve.
Paul Tucker, South London

I've moved all over the country and always watched and supported the club local to where I've been, currently Crewe. However, that is no substitute for being a fan of the club you grew up with, and visit wherever possible.
Brian Rolfe, UK

This is an utter disgrace and I call upon all football supporters from whichever team they support to boycott MK Frankenstein FC (wonderful name Mike).

In other words, if your team has a fixture against this "franchise" (for that is what it is) then refuse to attend the match. Do not put money into Koppel's pockets.
Rob Donaldson (Rob of Reddish), UK


It is cowardly, myopic and fundamentally wrong
Michael Flanagan, Australia

I shed a tear or two the day Wimbledon were relegated from the Premiership. Today, however, is a far sadder day for both the club, and English football as a whole.

Wimbledon FC is dead - the football franchise is born. How long before the board of Manchester United PLC realise that they could significantly increase revenues by re-locating to London?

After all, that would bring them closer to their corporate fanbase and increase their chances of attracting the very best overseas talent...
Grahame Blakey, England

I've lived in MK all my life (I pre-date MK) and I for one don't want Wimbledon or any other Football League team here. The disruptions on match days will be horrendous. Let 'em stay in London and if they go under, so what?
Mick, Milton Keynes, England

Pretty disgusting this really. It's the thin end of the wedge where supporters fail to matter and corporate greed takes over. There's enough of that in football anyway without football clubs being able to up-sticks and move to areas for rich pickings!
Andy Flynn, UK


This is the worst decision in the history of English football
Michael Flanagan, Australia

The decison by the commission is a disaster for English Football. It is cowardly, myopic and fundamentally wrong. It is no good the FA saying this does not set a precedent because it obviously does.

This is the worst decision in the history of English football and the perpetrators should hang their heads in shame for the rest of their lives. 100 years of rich history down the drain because of corporate greed.
Michael Flanagan, Australia

Football as we know it in England has just been killed. The link between clubs and supporters and local communities has been severed. Football RIP.
Nick Reed, England

As a resident of Milton Keynes, I am dismayed by the fact that Wimbledon might be moved here for a number of reasons. Mainly because football in this country should not be allowed to go the route of franchising.

And also because I believe the people of Milton Keynes really want a team they could call their own - not someone else's. Winkleman should take the Rushden and Diamonds example of building a team, not buying it from somewhere else.
Neil, UK


We will not be the last. Slough Forest, anyone?
Dr Lee Willett, England

Words cannot describe how gutted we feel right now. The Football Association has sold the game's lifeblood down the river. 'Football' Association? How about the 'Finance' or the 'Franchising' Association?

We will not be the last. Slough Forest, anyone? Wimbledon have always been dumped on by those in authority, and now the FA say they must act to be sure it will never happen AGAIN. AGAIN?

What use is that to us? I cannot believe that those with responsibility for our national game fell for Koppel's threats of liquidation. Broke are we? Our owner has just bought the largest shipyard in the US.

Milton Keynes is and never has been anything more than a property deal, and I am devastated that the FA and FL failed to realise this and have sold us so desperately short. This is a disaster for me, for WFC supporters, and for our national game.
Dr Lee Willett, England

This is a real shame and the end of the fairy tale. As an ex-supporter, I shall no longer be able to watch Wimbledon, nor indeed wish to.

I feel that the Football League has been short-sighted in this decision, driven by money and not concerned with the consequences...
Richard Hall, England

Absolutely disgraceful decision. Wimbledon FC no longer exist if they move to MK. If MK want a football team, let them work their way up the League like Wimbledon.

Despite the FA saying this has not set a precendent, it has! This is the beginning of the end for English football and all small clubs should be very worried.
Paul Hoadley, Germany


Most of football is too busy worrying about Beckham's foot to take notice of the potential implications of this move
CHarlie B., Ayia Napa, Cyprus

The FA is supposed to uphold the values of football in England, and the most important of those is community.

The supporters of Wimbledon have been treated abominably in the last few years and yet have stuck together and expressed themselves with dignity, restraint and incredible skill, even showing how a stadium could be built on Plough Lane.

This is a disgraceful decision, completely goes against the spirit of football, and the FA should be ashamed. Unfortunately, most of football is too busy worrying about Beckham's foot to take notice of the potential implications of this move, and the precedent it sets for franchising in the game.
Charlie B., Ayia Napa, Cyprus

This is one of the saddest days of my life. I have lost the club I have supported for the last 28 years. My two sons have lost their club too. All because of greed and money.

Professional football in this country stinks and I for one am glad to see the back of it. My shirts will be burnt and the ashes sent to the FA.
Ian Hicks, Wimbledon

This is an absolute disgrace. Our club has been hijacked by a bunch of businessmen with no love of football. We have been let down by a spineless Football Association, who have now set a very dangerous precedent. This is a very sad day for our national game.
Jools, England


RIP Wimbledon FC...
Rob Crane, UK

This move was not WFC's only hope. It was the only hope of our chairman. This unbelievable decision now means that Dons fans could buy Bradford, move them to Wimbledon, and get our club back at the expense of Bradford fans.
Tom C, England

The argument is that the club will die unless it moves from London, but if the Dons move to Milton Keynes, it's not the same club anymore anyway. RIP Wimbledon FC...
Craig Grannell, Iceland

This isn't the right move for Wimbledon, it's the right move for our owners' bank balance.

This kills Wimbledon and all of its history, it's a devastating blow for the local community and all who have won the arguments but, it seems, lost the war.

I look forward to Real Wimbledon - a community club run by the community and for the community - rising from the ashes of this corporate monster - and in Merton.
Rob Crane, UK


To state that there is an untapped fan base in the football hotbed of the Northants/Bucks borders is a myth of Byers-esque proportions
John Waite, UK

IDIOTS! I am not a Wimbledon fan but the commission has just said yes to the American-style system of football 'franchises'. Football clubs are part of ther local community and should stay there.
Tim, Reading,UK

It's an absolute disgrace and the chairman and the owners have chewed the club up, stripped it bare and spat it out in Milton Keynes - what now for football in Wimbledon?
Christian Dubreuil, Tufnell Park, England

To state that there is an untapped fan base in the football hotbed of the Northants/Bucks borders is a myth of Byers-esque proportions. The football supporting population of Milton Keynes already have allegiances to Arsenal, Chelsea, QPR, Aston Villa, Coventry and Northampton.

Are we expected to believe that they would drop these teams to support a poor Division One team playing to crowds of 4,000 in the back end of nowhere?
John Waite, UK

If the club has no absolutely no regard for its loyal fans then a move to Milton Keynes is inevitable. The move as I see it is purely a money-making exercise to relocate to an area that is not well-served by professional football at the moment.

I believe, however, that the name Wimbledon FC should be stripped from the club if they do relocate, as they have shown no loyalty to the area and people of Wimbledon.
Ed, England


Disgraceful, spineless, deceitful, and totally devoid of any principles
Denis Farrugia, United Kingdom

There is no way this proposal should ever have even reached this stage. How anyone can consider moving a football club 70 miles from its heartland is staggering.

My team, Liverpool, are considering moving a few hundred yards, and that feels bad enough. Something must be done to stop this happening, and save Wimbledon for the people who matter, the supporters.
Andy McGrath, Liverpool, England

This is the right move. Think about the support they will get there. This is the start of a new era for Wimbeldon.
Terry, Ireland

Disgraceful, spineless, deceitful, and totally devoid of any principles. These are some of the polite titles that I can think of to describe the Football Association and the so-called Commission. Why are Wimbledon an exceptional case?
Denis Farrugia, United Kingdom

I'm not really sure what Wimbledon expect to get from coming to Milton Keynes. Everyone here who is interested in football already follows their own team elsewhere in the country.

People aren't going to change their allegiances just because a new team moves closer. I hope that Wimbledon's owners aren't looking for a quick-fix to their problems!
Andy Roberts, Milton Keynes, UK


113 years of a club's history sold off on the chance that Charles Koppel might make a fast buck
Mike Arrowsmith, UK

Something I loved was murdered today!
Brian Manning, UK

Unbelievable. The FA say they are against it. The Football League are against it. Every Dons fan I know is against it - yet somehow this is being allowed to happen.

Conveniently for the authorities, the buck has stopped with an 'independent' commission which allows them to wave their hands in horror while doing nothing to stop this franchising.

113 years of a club's history sold off on the chance that Charles Koppel might make a fast buck in MK. Twenty-seven years as a supporter for me but no more - at least I have the memory of having watched my team from the Southern League to lifting the FA Cup and playing in the Premier League.

With the dedication that fans have put into saving our club, a Real Wimbledon club may yet emerge. In the meantime, MK Frankenstein FC should be treated with contempt by every supporter of every club they play.
Mike Arrowsmith, UK

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 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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