The House of Commons Culture Media and Sport Select Committee today issued
its report: "Wembley National Stadium Project: Into Injury Time". Michael
Fabricant, a member of the Committee, says that "there are important
questions that are raised regarding the rôle of the Secretary of State,
Tessa Jowell, in all this and her encouragement of bids for alternative
stadiums in the west midlands which cost local tax payers £700,000".
Among other things, the Report states: "In not making the implications of
the FA staging agreement with Wembley clear to Birmingham, the FA denied the
partnership behind that proposal the opportunity to make a realistic
assessment of its chances of success. This is particularly unsatisfactory
in the light of the assertion by the partnership that the initiative came
first from the Football Association itself."
But Michael Fabricant adds: "In answer to questions from me" (paragraph
428 of the evidence sessions published by the House of Commons), "Tessa
Jowell (Secretary of State for Culture Media & Sport) admits that she knew
all along about the staging agreement which keeps the Stadium in London.
Birmingham and Coventry never had a snowball’s chance in hell unless they
were able to negotiate some sort of buy out with the Football Association
which could cost untold millions. And even that is in doubt. But
Birmingham and Coventry were never told about this agreement. So what were
Tessa Jowell and her Sports Minister, Richard Caborn, playing at when they
both encouraged bids from the west midlands but kept the staging agreement
"I believe the bidders are perfectly justified in claiming compensation from
the Government to refund council tax payers and private money. This amounts
to over £1,000,000. They might also now wish to seek a judicial review
into the handling of this whole issue."
The Report, "Wembley National Stadium Project: Into Injury Time". can be