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Changes to Summer Events 24 January 2006

    Honda Powerboats Set to Return

    After a stunning debut in 2005 the Honda Powerboat series is set to return in 2006. Negotiations with series organiser Rory Power are at a final stage and the awesome sights and sounds of the Honda propelled machines are set to return to Douglas Bay for 2 days of frantic action over the weekend of 24th and 25th of June.

    Rory Power commented “ the Isle of Man races were a huge success in 2005 and we are delighted to be bringing the series back here , it was a huge favourite with the competitors and we hope the spectators enjoyed it as much as we did” after a series of on Island meetings held last week he added “ the co-operation and help we get on the Isle of Man is second to none , from the Tourism Minister and his officers , the Harbour Authorities , and this year the support of Douglas Bay Yacht Club is essential to the smooth running of the races , we thank them whole heartedly and we look forward to some fantastic racing and some more great TV coverage of our races and your wonderful Island."

    Full Time for Football Festival

    After more than 20 years the final whistle may have sounded for the Isle of Man Steam Packet supported Football Festival. The Department of Tourism has decided that it can no longer justify the funding of the tournament in its present format.

    Minister of Tourism David Cretney explained: ‘The Football Festival has been part of the Island’s major summer attractions since 1983 but we are constantly reviewing the events we organise and support. While agreeing that the Festival had helped develop the Isle of Man’s reputation as a sporting island it was felt the time had come to move on and plan for the future. Indeed we have already been involved in talks with Vagabonds rugby Club with a view to holding a pre – season training event or tournament with many of the teams they have come into contact with through their league exploits. We are hopeful of having some good news on that front shortly”

    ‘We have certain criteria regarding the Department’s involvement, based on the return on our investment. Unfortunately, this criteria was not being met by the Football Festival in recent years and the decision was taken, with a heavy heart, to re think our investment”

    Sunderland were the first winners and other current Premiership sides to lift the trophy were Blackburn Rovers, Wigan Athletic and West Bromwich Albion together with Scottish Premier side Motherwell. Wrexham hold the record for the greatest number of wins – five – while other lower league sides such as Oldham, Rushden and Diamonds and, last year, Carlisle have also triumphed in recent years.

    For many years the Festival operated as a week long event but after carrying out research among fans the decision was taken to stage it over a long weekend to reduce costs to spectators. However, this didn’t have the desired effect in increasing spectator numbers and led to the inevitable conclusion that the Department could no longer afford to provide financial support at this level.

    Mr. Cretney added: ‘I would like to thank the Steam Packet for their support, spread over many years, and also Barclays Bank for their assistance. We hope we will be able to work with them again on other projects in the years to come.”

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