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Moscow airfield best option for Madonna concert - police chief

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Moscow's police chief said Monday that an airfield in the northwest of the capital was the best possible venue for a Madonna concert next month.
MOSCOW, August 28 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow's police chief said Monday that an airfield in the northwest of the capital was the best possible venue for a Madonna concert next month.

The American pop diva's concert, expected to take place in Moscow September 11 as part of her controversial "Confessions on a Dance Floor" tour, was initially set for Vorobyovy Gory (Swallow Hills) overlooking the capital in front of Moscow State University. But authorities said the venue should be changed for security reasons.

"There is only one place in Moscow where mass events involving over 200,000 people can be held: Tushino airfield," Vladimir Pronin said.

Pronin said 250,000 people were expected at the concert and about 100,000 tickets had been sold already.

He said Vorobyovy Gory was not an appropriate venue for a crowded concert in terms of security, as the territory was not fenced and could only accommodate around 40,000 people given the many fountains there.

Tushino has held similar events, including an annual rock festival. But tragedy marred the 2003 gathering, when two female suicide bombers set off devices that killed 16 people.

Pronin also said the original venue for the Madonna concert could affect normal life in the area, as nearby subway stations with small passenger capacities would have to be closed for exit.

The police chief also ruled out the Luzhniki stadium, which had been proposed by the city authorities.

"Luzhniki can only accommodate 70,000 spectators, and Madonna in that event would have to sing and dance for two days," he said.

Alexei Laushkin, an official with the administration of Moscow's western district, said Friday that the authorities had not given the concert organizers their consent for the concert to be held in front the iconic university building, which is the biggest of seven Stalin-era skyscrapers in the capital.

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