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Friday, 2 June, 2000, 04:44 GMT 05:44 UK
New Wembley Stadium approved
Wembley Stadium
What the new Wembley Stadium should look like
Official approval has been secured to develop a new 475m stadium for Wembley after a compromise was reached in a funding row.

Brent Borough Council unanimously backed the scheme after a last-minute dispute about how many events the new venue should host each year.

Chase Manhattan Bank, which is underwriting investment by Wembley National Stadium Limited (WNSL) in the development, had threatened to abandon the deal if such a cap was imposed.


We are only just beginning

Ken Bates
The final game in the existing stadium - which is being demolished to make way for the new venue - will be England's World Cup qualifier with Germany on 7 October.

Brent Council's planning officers had proposed a limit of 22 sporting events and 15 non-sporting ones for the new stadium, until work is finished on a 36m overhaul of Wembley Park tube station.

Chase Manhattan Bank argued that its investment could only be underpinned if there was no limit on events staged at the proposed 90,000-capacity stadium.

The bank said the ability to secure a Premiership soccer team to play its home fixtures there was essential should WNSL run into financial difficulties.

The limit on events will stay but only for two years after the stadium opens for business.


New-look Wembley
90,000 seats under cover
No restricted views
A retractable roof
More leg room
7,250 jobs created

Approval on Thursday night by Brent Council's planning sub-committee concludes a long-running saga about how the new-look Wembley should look.

It should ensure that a central part of England's bid to stage the 2006 World Cup finals is in place.

The stadium project has been hit by various problems this year.

Boost to 2006 bid

The venue had originally been intended to host the 2005 World Athletics Championship but Culture Secretary Chris Smith ordered athletics to find their own separate venue.

He argued that Wembley should be used exclusively for soccer and rugby league.

The redevelopment plans still allow for some athletics to be staged at Wembley should an alternative scheme fail to materialise.


Wembley gives us an immense advantage over our rivals

Alec McGivan

Chelsea chairman Ken Bates, chairman of WNSL, said: "It is tempting to think that today is the end of a very long process.

"In fact, we are only just beginning.

"We can now get on with our stated aim of building the finest stadium in the world, one that will hopefully host the 2006 World Cup final."

Alec McGivan, campaign director for the 2006 World Cup bid, said: "The magnetic appeal of Wembley gives us an immense advantage over our rivals - there is nothing to rival it."

The new Wembley Stadium has been designed by Foster and Partners.

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02 Mar 00 | UK Politics
Wembley report condemns ministers
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