Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Third Report

Appendix 2

Letter to the Chairman of the Committee from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and the Chairman of Sport England

Following Trevor Brooking's letter to you of 22 March, there has been some related and potentially misleading press comment over the weekend. We thought it would be helpful to write jointly to set the record straight on a number of points.

In our evidence to the Committee, we were clear that Sport England have allocated within their budget up to £60 million (£40m allocation and £20m to be paid to Sport England by the FA) to the Lee Valley National Athletics Centre subject to a satisfactory application coming forward for substantive funding. Sport England is not able to make a formal commitment to funding a project which has yet to make a full application and this will remain the position until such an application comes forward.

The offer made by the Football Association and Wembley National Stadium Limited to pay £20 million from the original grant of £120 million was agreed by the Secretary of State and the Football Association on 23 December 1999. The application to amend the terms of the Lottery Funding Agreement to effect payment and the removal of athletics was made by the Football Association and Wembley National Stadium Limited on 29 September 2000 and, after extensive consultation, was agreed by the Sport England Council on 4 December 2000. The formal agreement between Sport England, the Football Association and Wembley National Stadium Limited will be concluded once financial close has been achieved on the package of debt financing.

Finally, as you know, there were extensive discussions about the site of the Wembley warm-up track in 1999. Copelands School had been one of the four short-listed options but it was agreed that it was not ideal. While it could have been developed for the World Athletics Championships, Sport England indicated during discussion at the Wembley Task Force meeting on 11 November 1999 that it would be likely to weaken any World Athletics Championship bid. It has always been accepted that this site was not suitable for the Olympics.

We hope that these points will help to clarify these issues for the Committee as you consider your Report.

27 March 2001

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