Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 400 - 405)



Mr Doran

  400. We have been concerned, as you will appreciate, with the public money that is in this project and the security of that public money. Certainly from evidence that we have received from some witnesses, and I think Mr Cunnah repeated it again today, it was certainly our impression that the FA and WNSL were quite distinct as far as the liability for that money. We did reflect a little on the irony of that in relation to the Football League's current position and the action which that company is proposing to take against ITV Digital, Carlton and Granada. You said earlier, Mrs Simmonds, that the FA and WNSL were signatories to the Lottery Funding Agreement. Could you just clarify for the Committee exactly what the liability of the FA would be if this project does not go forward and it collapses?
  (Mrs Simmonds) WNSL and the FA are both signatories to the Lottery Funding Agreement. If the project fails WNSL has to repay the grant of £120 million within that agreement and if WNSL was to fail then there is a staging agreement which is direct with the FA which would allow us to recover the money from the staging of events at Wembley for the next 20 years.

  401. Does that mean technically the FA would be liable if WNSL fails?
  (Mrs Simmonds) The FA would be liable for the staging agreement.

  402. Tell us what the staging agreement means?
  (Mr Fytche) The staging agreement is basically a contract between WNSL and the FA which requires the FA to stage its matches at Wembley for a period of time.

  403. At the existing Wembley?
  (Mr Fytche) Indeed. Sport England is a party to the staging agreement itself.

  404. Just so I am clear, if WNSL fails the FA are obligated to repay that money but that would be done through an agreement which would require the FA to play the Cup Final and all international matches at the existing Wembley. What if that is not technically possible because of health and safety notices, environmental health?
  (Mrs Simmonds) They would have to put the stadium back in order to do it.
  (Mr Fytche) There has been some work done to evaluate that option because it is a key question to make sure that there is a solution which brings the stadium into use.

  405. The bottom line is if the project fails the FA is liable?

  (Mrs Simmonds) Yes.

  Chairman: Thank you for that confirmation. Thank you, Members of the Committee, for your durability. I declare this session closed.

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