ZURICH: The city of Zurich may be the headquarters of world football but it cannot be the capital of the game in Switzerland.

Residents in FIFA’s home city rejected plans for a new stadium in a referendum on Sunday. Hence FC Zurich and Grasshopper must continue to use the far-dated Letzigrund athletics stadium which it shares with athletics. Grasshoppers’ old home, the Hardturm stadium, was closed 2007.

The city council said: “The city council accepts the decision but regrets that the football city of Zurich will not have an adequate arena for a very long time.”

Last year FIFA had offered to contribute 20m Swiss francs towards the stadium but withdrew the offer because of plans to include standing areas which run against the world federation’s preference for all-seat arenas. The money was donated, instead, to local grass-roots projects.