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Approval of the Wembley national stadium could be further delayed for weeks following the disclosure of the damning...
Approval of the Wembley national stadium could be further delayed for weeks following the disclosure of the damning report on the£715m project, according to The Independent on Sunday (p5).

Culture secretary Tessa Jowell will tell MPs this week that a further report by government troubleshooter Patrick Carter will be needed before she can approve the final part of the deal. The delay could lead to fresh demands to abandon the Wembley scheme and offer it to Birmingham which has also bid for the national stadium.

The Football Association, which owns the site, announced on 2 May that it had given the go-ahead after the 90,000-seater stadium received broad approval by Mr Carter in a review of competing bids from Birmingham and Coventry. The government needs to approve the final£20m for vital improvements to the local Tube station and road access.

Ministers were attacked for dithering, but Ms Jowell will tell MPs that more time is essential to make sure that the financial arrangments are not tainted by an earlier, aborted scheme. The contents of the report by David James, a City troubleshooter, forced her to postpone a statement to parliament last December for emergency talks with the FA. His report was based on a confidential review by management consultants Tropus.

The German bank West LB, which is backing the FA's Wembley project, last week reported a 50% reduction in its pre-tax profits. Any doubt about its willingness to support the project would come as a further, possibly fatal, blow.
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