Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex 20

Letter, 18 January 2001, from Sport England to the Chairman of WNSL


  Following my letter to Bob Stubbs of 8 December, within which I raised a number of immediate issues related to the financing process and athletics, I understand that a revised package will be agreed by 31 January 2001. It is important to agree a way forward in order for us to consider extensions to the section three milestone under the Lottery Funding Agreement which currently finishes on 31 January. Our prime concern at this stage is to ensure that the grant is adequately protected, and therefore we would appreciate receiving confirmation of the revised package at the earliest opportunity. I am hopeful that a meeting can be set up with Bob Stubbs and the FA next week to discuss the latest position prior to the Board meeting scheduled for 31 January.

  As part of this package it is important that there is a clear way forward on athletics. My colleague Ian Fytche attended the Lee Valley Forum on Tuesday of this week, 16 January. At the start of the meeting, the Secretary of State reported on his discussions with you earlier in the day. He reported that, in your assessment, it was extremely unlikely that a Wembley option would be proposed for athletics, and that you had undertaken to confirm this view by the end of this week.

  We have only had the opportunity for a brief, snatched conversation on these issues since your appointment, following the lunch which we both attended last week. Given that you appear to be nearing the end of your assessment on athletics options for Wembley, please do not hesitate to contact me to arrange to meet if you would find that helpful. We stand ready to meet at short notice given the timetable outlined by the Secretary of State for a conclusion to your assessment this week.

  Should you conclude that, in your view, Wembley should not put forward proposals for the 2005 World Athletics Championships, then I assume that we will be in a position to conclude our discussions on the changes required to the Lottery Funding Agreement, and the payment of £20 million to Sport England, as approved by the Council on 4 December 2000. The Council decision followed receipt of an application from WNSL and the FA on 29 September 2000, which followed the announcement by the Secretary of State in December 1999.

  If, however, you do propose an athletics option for Wembley, then it would be helpful to receive details of your proposals at the earliest opportunity. In this scenario, our principal concern would be to ensure compliance with the technical requirements of the Lottery Funding Agreement, and therefore an early opportunity to review your proposals would be appreciated. Perhaps the key consideration is the position of UK Athletics, as our assessment of athletics proposals has always been based upon the needs of the sport. We understand their current position is to support the Picketts Lock project.

  I look forward to hearing from you in the very near future. Please do not hesitate to give me a call at any time to discuss any of the issues raised above.

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