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Tuesday, 7 May, 2002, 20:07 GMT 21:07 UK
Birmingham 'let down' on stadium
Artists impression of proposed Birmingham stadium
The stadium would have been built near the M42
The West Midlands has been "badly let down" by the government over its bid to be the home for a new national stadium, according to the team behind it.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said in parliament on Tuesday the plan to rebuild Wembley Stadium would be given an extra month to find secure financial backing.

But Paul Spooner, project director for the Birmingham team, accused the government of a U-turn.

He said the Wembley bid should have been thrown out when one of five criteria set down by the government was not met by the deadline of 30 April.
Wembley Stadium
The plan to rebuild Wembley has been given more time

"It would appear the government is reneging on its commitment that it would encourage the Football Association (FA) to make Birmingham the preferred option if those tests were not met in full by the end of April," he said.

"I believe many people in the West Midlands will feel badly let down by the government and the FA in not recognising the potential of this area to be the home of major projects such as the national stadium."

Last week the FA said it had funding in place for the proposed 715m project to rebuild Wembley stadium.

'Final whistle'

It is thought it will be largely funded by German finance company Westdeutsche Landesbank.

Mr Spooner said the Wembley bid had been dogged by financial uncertainty and the latest funding bid could also fall through.

"In the view of most football fans, the final whistle should have been blown a long time ago," he said.

"A national stadium in Birmingham and Solihull still represents the best option for fans and the taxpayer."

He said he had written to Adam Crozier, chief executive of the FA, reminding him the Birmingham bid was still an option.

See also:

07 May 02 | Search for a New Wembley
Wembley bid given more time
30 Apr 02 | Search for a New Wembley
Birmingham stands by
11 Apr 02 | Search for a New Wembley
Wembley reveal new chairman
08 May 02 | Search for a New Wembley
Birmingham - A credible alternative?
31 Aug 01 | Search for a New Wembley
Birmingham outlines stadium bid
02 May 01 | Wembley
The real price of stadia
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