More needs to be done to ensure Cardiff and South Wales benefits from hosting the 2017 Champions League final or miss the chance of a lifetime to make its mark on the rest of the world.
With the first few rounds of the 2016/17 Champions League now complete is a stark reminder that one of the globe’s biggest sporting events is less than a year away.
The fact that the international spotlight will fall on the Welsh capital has prompted the head of a Cardiff-based commercial property firm to call on authorities and businesses to use the final as a catalyst to not only trigger vital infrastructure work but use it to springboard the Principality as a great place to do business.
Mike Rees from the Cardiff office of Bruton Knowles says everyone from the wider community need to pull out all the stops so that guests from overseas next June get to experience the very best of what Cardiff and Wales has to offer.
His fear is that having attracted dignitaries from across the world there’s a potential they may be left feeling flat by experiencing transport issues like those during RWC 2015.
Mike said: “The eyes of the world will be on Cardiff and South Wales. There will be visitors from all over the world not only representing the two teams in the final but also the competition’s sponsors and officials from UEFA.
“The Welsh team’s success in the European Cup has already made people sit up and take notice and the final is the perfect catalyst to once and for all make decisions on opening up South Wales to the wider world
“If we fail to recognise this I am sure there will be other regions in the UK that will!
“With the UK having voted to leave the EU, this is a fantastic opportunity for Wales to forge ahead and establish its own relationship with key trading partners.
“South Wales has much to offer and we as a community need to make the most of this chance to shine.
“Some commentators are predicting a period of substantial growth following the referendum vote.
“I believe Wales has the opportunity to participate in this providing it adopts a positive economic development policy commensurate with a much needed commitment to key infrastructure investment at both local and country wide level and not be stymied by lack of ambition to make decision on what is best for the region.”