Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Letter to the Chairman of the Committee from the Minister for Sport


  During his evidence on 1 March, Ken Bates made a number of comments about my role in the Wembley Stadium project. I am looking forward to the opportunity next Wednesday to put the record straight. However, I would like to correct one particular error of fact, namely that I failed to invite him to brief me on the new national stadium following my appointment as Minister for Sport.

  This is not correct. It is worth bearing in mind that I was appointed as Minister for Sport on 29 July 1999, the same date that the design for the new Wembley Stadium was announced. Following my appointment, I asked my officials to arrange a briefing on the project with Wembley National Stadium Ltd (WNSL). My officials wrote to Bob Stubbs on 2 August 1999 requesting this. The briefing took place on 21 September with Bob Stubbs and Geoff Taylor, representing WNSL. I also had a meeting on the issue with all the relevant parties, including WNSL, at the Sport England offices on 19 October. Interestingly, Mr Bates did not attend either meeting.

  Furthermore, I met Mr Bates at Wembley during the England v Scotland Euro 2000 qualifying match on 17 November 1999. He invited both myself and Chris Smith to look at the design plans for the new stadium during the half time break during which time we did, of course, discuss the proposals.

  I hope this clarifies matters and should be grateful if you could bring this to the attention of the other Committee members.

March 2001

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