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Thursday, March 12, 1998 Published at 12:13 GMT


Sport: Football

Arsenal offer to buy Wembley

Wembley Stadium: wanted by Arsenal

Arsenal have confirmed they have made an official bid to buy Wembley Stadium to be their new home.

The club are desperate to increase the 38,000 capacity at Highbury but have met strong opposition from local residents.


The BBC's sports correspondent Adam Mynott discusses why the Gunners want to move (3'08")
With few other options they have decided that Wembley, with a capacity nearer 80,000, is the only viable alternative.

They will face opposition, however, from both the Football Association and the English National Stadium Trust.

The trust also wants to buy the stadium while the FA has made it clear that selling Wembley to a club side would harm England's bid to stage the 2006 World Cup.

Football's governing body FIFA insisted that if Arsenal bought Wembley it would not harm England's chances of staging the 2006 World Cup.

Wembley is due to be redeveloped as the national stadium and will be the centrepiece of the Football Association's bid.


Former Arsenal striker Alan "Smudger" Smith tells BBC Radio 5 Live why the magic of Wembley "would be lost" (2'24")
But FIFA spokesman Keith Cooper claims it is not bothered by who owns a particular stadium.

"The ownership of any individual stadium and the team that regularly plays there, really makes no difference to FIFA," he said.

"The important thing is that the stadium in question should be available for the period of the World Cup. What happens there for the rest of the time is not FIFA's concern."



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