Football: Wembley Start Cost-Cutting Exercise to Save Project
Tomlinson, Heather, The Independent (London, England)
DIRECTORS OF Wembley National Stadium will tomorrow decide how to cut the running costs for their Wembley bid after demands from the Football Association to reduce the bill. The current costs of keeping the project alive are understood to be around pounds 2m a month - and the FA are footing the bill. They want the costs reduced to avoid scrapping the plans, in case the Government decide to use them.
"The FA have asked how to get the ongoing costs down, and the board will on Monday decide which of the various options to take," said Chris Palmer, director of communications for WNS.
The costs of keeping the bid going are due to continuing development of the stadium design, legal fees, and costs related to how to raise money from the City, said Palmer.
WNS management will present a series of cost-cutting options to the board tomorrow. Palmer would not comment on what those options will be. The company were originally planning to build the stadium, at a cost of around pounds 660m, with backing from the City and the FA. But earlier this month the FA said they could not afford a pounds 125m initial outlay and the pounds 55m yearly costs , and so then asked the Government for cash, which was refused.
The Government have now set up a task force, headed by Home Secretary Jack Straw. The options would appear to be: the Government could continue with WNS's plans and put up the cash themselves; they could refurbish the existing stadium or return to initial redevelopment plans that included athletics facilities; they might not build a national stadium at all, and stick with the existing situation where the England team tour around the country using different Premiership club grounds; and they could also consider sharing the ground with another Premiership club such as Arsenal, who might be inter-ested if planning permission is not granted for their plans for a new stadium near Highbury. …