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The BBC's Kevin Gearey
"Wembley says it will be the word's most expensive stadium because it will be the best"
 real 56k

Chris Palmer, WNSL
"We're getting a much better stadium for the money"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 25 October, 2000, 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK
Wembley costs 'escalate'
Artist's impression of the planned new Wembley National Stadium
Artist's impression of the planned new Wembley
The total cost of building the new Wembley stadium could escalate to 660m, making it the world's most expensive sporting venue.

Wembley National Stadium Limited, which is running the project for the Football Association, is aiming to borrow 410m - far more than had been thought.

The other 250m has already been paid out by the National Lottery or pledged from the FA.

When the project was first suggested more than four years ago, the cost was estimated at 240m. For the past year, WNSL has been quoting a total bill of 475m.

More than Sydney

"As contingencies are not called upon and we make savings on construction costs, the figure is likely to come down," said WNSL spokesman Chris Palmer.

"It is a conservative business plan."

The 326.5m costs of construction compare with about 260m paid to build the Olympic Stadium in Sydney.

The Stade de France in Paris, which hosted the last World Cup final, was also around the 260m mark.

The new Wembley is planned to hold 90,000 people and include a four-star 200-bed hotel, 100,000 sq ft of office space, two banqueting halls, restaurants, a museum and numerous corporate hospitality suites.

The costs also include improvements to the local Underground station and a road building scheme.

WNSL is said to be confident it can meet the much higher interest charges such high building costs would generate in the years after the stadium opens in 2003.

It believes annual income will total 75m to 100m.

It says the final bill could be reduced to about 600m if there are no delays, spending overruns or problems with the project.

As soon as the necessary bank lending is in place, demolition work will begin on the old stadium, including the famous twin towers.

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See also:

25 Oct 00 | Wembley
The real price of stadiums
07 Oct 00 | World Cup 2002
Wembley's sad farewell
10 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Sir Elton leads Wembley farewell
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