Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from the Chief Executive of Sport England


  Following your request on Friday, I am writing to clarify the position with regard to the payment of the £20 million to be paid by the FA/WNSL to Sport England following the 23 December 1999 agreement between the Secretary of State and Ken Bates.

  The payment profile was set out in a letter from the Secretary of State to Mr Bates, dated 7 January 2000, as follows:

      December 2000—£3 million

      December 2001—£3 million

      December 2002—£3 million

      December 2003—£5 million

      December 2004—£6 million

  However, as the funding for the project has yet to be agreed between WNSL, the FA and the banks—and, therefore, the necessary changes to the Lottery Funding Agreement have not been concluded—the first of these payments was not made in December 2000, as scheduled.

  We now envisage that the first payment will be made—as indicated by the Secretary of State—as soon as the project's funding arrangements have been put in place. Our working assumption is that the other four payments will then be made as per the original schedule. However, we are grateful to you for highlighting WNSL's differing interpretation of its agreement with the Secretary of State, which would result in the second, third, fourth and fifth payments being made on anniversaries of the first.

  It is our intention to clarify this point as the arrangements are finalised with the FA/WNSL prior to financial close. However, I am sure you will appreciate that Sport England was not a party to the original agreement between the Secretary of State and Mr Bates, so we believe that the DCMS and the FA/WNSL are best-placed to end this uncertainty.

  As the £20 million is essential to reducing the funding gap in respect of Picketts Lock, we are keen to ensure that final payment is made in line with its anticipated cashflow needs—and before the proposed new stadium would have to be completed in order to stage the World Athletics Championships in 2005.

  I trust that this letter provides the information you seek. However, please do not hesitate to contact us if you need more information at any stage.

March 2001

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