While the Irish government has decided not to offer to pay towards building Stadium Ireland, it is interesting to note that the UK government is willing to offer £116m towards the £700m contract to turn Wembley into a 90,000-tseat combined athletics, football and rugby stadium. The full cost to the public purse of the four year project is of course unknown but will include £120m in lottery funding, £20m from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and £21m from the London Development Agency. Tessa Jowell, the culture secretary, is expected to give the go-ahead to allow developers to demolish Wembley stadium final approval for a new stadium. this will mean the demolition of the twin towers so often used as an opening shot of cup final Grandstand. Developers, financed by the German Westdeutsche Landesbank, expect the new stadium to be completed by 2006 - almost 10 years after the FA first suggested the idea.
The plan for the stadium include a sliding roof (held in place by a 436ft-tall arch). This will protect spectators from the worst of the weather but players will be exposed to the elements so that the pitch remains in good condition. The athletics track (to be built from a steel-reinforced platform covered in asphalt) will fold away between events. The developers insist the new design is up to international standards and will allow London to bid for all big international athletics competitions. As you know, the project has been delayed for a variety of reasons. A Commons select committee which considered the delays blamed ambiguous government support and slack management by Sport England, which provided the Football Association with lottery money to buy the land.
About to disappear
Lets hope that there will not be similar delays or problems with government support when we come to building the facilities required for EURO2008.