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

Annex 22

Letter, 26 January 2001, from Sport England to the Chairman of WNSL


  I am grateful for the opportunity to meet yesterday to discuss the current issues related to the Wembley project. The meeting was very helpful and I appreciated the openness of our discussions. I thought it might be useful, following our meeting, to confirm the key issues from our perspective:

    —  Revised package—I look forward to confirmation of the revised package at the Board meeting on 31 January. Thank you for the update on progress to reduce the cost of the scheme, and discussions with the FA in relation to revenue guarantees to satisfy funders concerns.

    —  Athletics—thank you for clarifying your position with regard to athletics. This was a very wide-ranging discussion and I was encouraged by the openness you employed to look at all the options available. I suggest we meet again soon after next week's Board meeting to take forward matters in relation to WNSL/FA's proposal to remove athletics and the payment of £20 million to Sport England. As we discussed, the issue is currently in WNSL's court, following our letter confirming the Council's approval, on 4 December 2000, of WNSL's application for the removal of athletics. We look forward to hearing from you in due course. In the meantime, we shall continue to review the legal issues related to the content of and changes to the Lottery Funding Agreement.

    —  Timetable—as we discussed, the timetable for the satisfaction of milestone three under the Lottery Funding Agreement is currently 31 January 2001. It is critical that details of the revised package and timetable are available for review to enable us to consider further extensions to the current timetable. As you know, our prime concern is to ensure that our security is adequately protected, and we shall therefore need confirmation that the existing stadium is capable of being returned to full use within a matter of weeks as contemplated under the FA Staging Agreement), and that the FA will continue to underwrite the solvency of WNSL.

  Finally, please do not hesitate to contact me at any stage to discuss issues related to the project. We stand ready to assist in ensuring that the project can move forward at the earliest opportunity.

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