Tuesday 6 December 2016

Airport 'softens the blow' of £1,000 parking bill for TV pundit Dean Saunders

Published 07/07/2016 | 12:51

Dean Saunders has been working in France as a pundit for the BBC
Dean Saunders has been working in France as a pundit for the BBC

Airport bosses have cancelled Dean Saunders' hefty parking bill after he left his car in a short-stay zone, believing the Welsh Euro 2016 campaign would be brief.

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Birmingham Airport said the TV pundit and former Wales striker could donate the parking costs, thought to have topped £1,000, to a charity of his choice.

Wales were put out of the competition by Portugal on Wednesday night in a 2-0 defeat, but beat all expectations - including those of Saunders - to reach the semi-finals.

Saunders, who has been working in France as a pundit for the BBC, previously told Radio Five Live he expected his extended stay to see his parking charges rise to £1,000 by the time he gets home.

The former Liverpool and Aston Villa player, from Swansea, also said he was running out of clean clothes.

Airport chiefs had initially said they would only waive the charges if Wales won the tournament, but after Chris Coleman's side confounded the odds, they made a gesture to "soften the blow".

An airport spokesman said: "The Welsh football team have made Wales proud and did amazingly well to get to the semi-finals of the Euros.

"Birmingham Airport isn't just an airport for the West Midlands but the hundreds of thousands of people from Wales who use it as their local airport each year - including Dean Saunders.

"To soften the blow for Dean, we've decided to waive his parking fee but ask him to make a donation to a charity of his choice.

"If he's already paid his parking, let us know and we'll make the charitable donation instead."

The airport's move means 75-cap Saunders will not have to fall back on Plan B - a crowd-funding campaign to pay the bill set up by Coleman's brother-in-law Richard Jackson.

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