This was the vision. What’s left now for the Wembley project?
The home secretary, Jack Straw, will meet with a group of specially appointed officials in the next few weeks to discuss the Wembley stadium debacle and how it can be rescued from financial ruin. The ministerial working group, which includes the culture secretary, Chris Smith, and representatives from the City and football, will appoint an outside expert to examine the different options for salvaging the 660m national stadium project, which has caused severe embarrassment within government and sports circles as it has lurched from crisis to crisis.
Last December, Chelsea chairman Ken Bates, who headed Wembley National Stadium Ltd, the FA subsidiary company set up to oversee the project, was forced to step down after his plans proved too elaborate and costly. This resulted in City institutions refusing to fund the project. Sir Rodney Walker, head of the UK Sports Council, replaced Mr Bates and has spent the last few weeks assuring the City that the FA was willing to pledge 100m to the project.The FA was attempting to raise 400m from the City.
The latest setback has put the government in the driving seat and Mr Straw and his team will examine a number of options to revive the project. The working group will also attempt to resolve the vexed question of 120m of lottery money, which was given to WNSL to buy the Wembley site. The money has been spent but will have to be paid back if existing plans for a national stadium are changed.
A number of options will be presented to Mr Straw’s ministerial working group:
1 Refurbishing the existing Wembley
This is an option that few within government or the FA favour. The current Wembley stadium is derelict and the pitch already dug up. Under this proposal, the outside structure of the stadium would not change but catering facilities, seats and pitch would be modernised. The capacity of a redeveloped Wembley stadium would only be around 65,000. This is considered a short term option that would not help a future England bid for a major tournament such as the World Cup or European Championship. Privately, the FA has already told the government that it is against refurbishment. But it would prove to be cheap and the stadium could be reopened within two years. It would also mean that the FA would not have to pay back the 120m lottery money it was given because a revamped stadium falls within the lottery agreement. Chances 1/10
2 New site for a national stadium
Both Ken Bates, former best price for canada goose jacket chairman of WNSL, and Sir Rodney Walker, the bu sees a spike in canada goose jacket thefts current chairman, told a select committee of MPs they were not in favour of a new national stadium being constructed on the site of the existing Wembley stadium. Mr Bates backed Manchester while Mr Walker said that a stadium somewhere in the midlands – perhaps Milton Keynes – would have been a better option. The min isterial working group and influential people within the FA, are keen that a new site option is closely examined. A stadium in the midlands, the favoured option, would allow easy access to the majority of the country buy canada goose parka ottawa if it was constructed close to a motorway and railway station with enough room for parking and conference facilites. Land and construction costs would be much cheaper.
Some within the FA believe a state-of-the art national stadium outside London could be built for under 300m. This option is backed by a number of football chairmen. Like Wembley, the neutral venue would be used for England international matches, end of the season play-off matches and all cup finals. If this option is chosen the lottery money would have to be returned. Chances 8/10
3 best replica canada goose jacket Ground share national stadium
Sources within the FA have revealed that canada goose coat 1000 calorie diet a possible ground share with a Premiership team playing at a national stadium is another option they are considering. Some talks have taken place with Arsenal on a possible ground share at a new Wembley. This would please City institutions, who would be more willing to fund the project knowing that there was going to be regular income. At least two home matches a month would take place benefits of canada goose jacket at the new stadium, and all construction and running costs could be split with the football club that shares it.
One of the main problems could lie with Brent council, the local authority. It has said that planning permission has been granted for a national stadium and not for a league stadium, where regular matches would take place. Wembley residents are against such a plan. The lottery funding agreement would also have to be changed with the 120m returned.
David Dein, who is on the FA board and deputy chairman of Arsenal, supports this option. The north London club want to move from their ground at Highbury to a new ground close authentic canada goose jacket sale by, a plan opposed by residents. Mr Dein believes that sharing the national stadium could solve his problems if Arsenal are denied planning permission for a new ground in north London. Chances 5/10
4 No national stadium
Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Portugal and other leading football nations do not have a national stadium. The FA chief execu tive, Adam Crozier, has said that the current practice of England touring around the country has worked well sale, leading to large crowds and good atmospheres, even for friendlies -something that was not always the case at the old Wembley. Given that a number of Premiership grounds have a capacity of over 50,000, hosting England internationals would not be can you wash a canada goose coat a problem.
The FA is prepared to do without a national stadium if the project cannot be rescued by the government. There could however, be problems in fixing dates best canada goose jacket for men for matches if internationals are only played at club grounds (matches could clash) and it would also be a major dent to the FA’s prestige, given the importance once attached to Wembley. Chances 4/10
5 Stick with existing plans
That would mean the government underwrites the entire project and a new stadium is built as currently planned. Chances: Will probably depend on the outcome of the general election
6 Return to the orginal brief
Wembley would become an 80,000-capacity stadium capable of hosting athletics and other sports. It would also allow for a British Olympic bid. This option would also include an can you wash a canada goose coat adjoining athletics track for warming up. Opponents claim that spectators would be too far away from the pitch during football matches, affecting the atmosphere, and the sight lines in the stadium make for poor viewing. Chances 6/10
Countdown to failure
September Australian construction company Multiplex will sign contract to build stadium for 326.5m. Plans to open the new ground with the 2003 FA Cup Final are shelved
October Demolition work put back indefinitely as bankers Chase Manhattan fail to raise the 410m required
December Sir Rodney Walker appointed chairman of WNSL in place of Chelsea chairman Ken Bates
February 2001 Bates quits the WNSL board, claiming senior government and FA figures undermined him
May 1 FA admits the project is doomed unless the government bails it out