Wednesday, July 21, 2010

San Salvador de Jujuy - Estadio 23 de Agosto

In June 2005, Argentina hosted a two test tour of Italy. The international matches were played in Salta and Córdoba with a warm-up fixture for the Italians against Argentina A taking place in San Salvador de Jujuy. The same city has been selected by South America´s Soccer Governing Boby, CONMEBOL, as one of eight to host the 2011 Copa América which will be hosted in Argentina.

San Salvador de Jujuy is the capital city of Argentina´s northern most province, Jujuy. The city often goes by the name of simply San Salvador. With a population of 232,000 it is not one of Argentina´s ten largest cities but is larger than ten of the thirteen cities to host matches at Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand. The province has a total population of 612,000.

The cities premier stadium, the Estadio 23 de Agosto will host the matches which take place in San Salvador. As a host venue for the 2011 Copa América, the Estadio 23 de Agosto is being upgraded to have a permanent seating capacity of 23,000. At New Zealand 2011 venues including Invercargill, Napier, Nelson and Palmerston North are all to be smaller than the Estadio 23 de Agosto. In addition, England has announced that it will stage some games in Gloucester which after redevelopment will seat less than 20,000 and Japan intend on using a 20,000 venue in Sendai. Additional upgrades could occur between now and 2023, but Rugby World Cup´s 2011, 2015 and 2015 suggest that the stadium would be an apporpriate Rugby World Cup venue without further upgrading.

San Salvador is located 68KM north of Salta, 330KM north of Tucumán, 890KM North of Córdoba, 1,100KM north-west of Santa Fé and 1,650KM north-west of Buenos Aires. The huge distances can be appropriately managed by carefully distributing teams and dates so that players and fans do not need to travel huge distances in between matches. Australia failed to do this for Rugby World Cup 2003. England and Samoa travelled a staggering 2700KM from Perth to Melbourne for their pool match. The geography of Australia and selected host venues for Rugby World Cup 2003 made this happen. If Argentina were to host Rugby World Cup 2023 the distances would, despite being much larger than those in France 2007 or New Zealand 2011, not be so much of a burden. Teams forced to travel bigger distances should have their schedules appropriately arranged so that they recieve sufficient time to prepare for their matches.

San Salvador de Jujuy could be used together with Salta and Tucumán as three venues hosting matches in Northern Argentina. The region´s three suggested venues should host a minimum of 2 matches each to take the Rugby World Cup to more of the country and for Argentina to showcase different parts of the country to the world. Without question, a trip to the north would be a great experience for visiting fans and players.

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