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

Annex to Appendix 2

Letter dated 4 July 2001, to Chief Executive, Birmingham City Council from Chief Executive, The Football Association

  Many thanks for your letter of 20 June and apologies for taking so long to reply.

  Can I also ask you to pass on our thanks to Paul Spooner and his team for taking the time to work with us on the National Stadium project.

  In order to be completely open with you, I let you know exactly where we are in the process.

  Effectively, we have three options going forward:

    1.  The current design proposal for a 90,000 seater stadium at Wembley.

    2.  A new 80,000/85,000 design for Wembley.

    3.  A new 80,000/85,000 design in Birmingham.

  We are currently focusing on the business plan to ensure that we are positive about our chances of success of funding before making a final decision on location. This concurs with the view that you expressed in your letter of the 20th, in terms of any further conversations our two respective teams would have.

  We are very clear of the potential advantages that go with the option of Birmingham in terms of infrastructure and experience, but I'm sure you understand that we have a lot of investment in Wembley in terms of money, time, planning etc.

  I would expect us to be in a position to make a decision by the end of August and we will contact Paul Spooner as and when we need further information.

  Thanks again for your interest and if you need any further information I would be delighted to hear from you.

4 July 2001

Letter dated 22 May 2002, to the Chief Executive, the Football Association from the Project Director, Birmingham and Solihull English National Stadium Project

  As you would imagine we have been following very closely the evidence given to the Select Committee this week.

  Yesterday Nick Coward, the Football Association's company secretary, stated to the Committee that the Football Association would not be free to take its events to Birmingham in the event that the WNSL scheme did not proceed under an agreement reached with Sport England in 1999.

  This contradicts completely the advice you have given me over the last 12 months, including your letter of 4 July in which you listed Birmingham as a viable alternative to Wembley and more recently your public statement in December that if Wembley fails you will be very prepared to sit down and talk with us again.

  Given the public money spent in the West Midlands in preparing our bid, which you yourself have said many times represents a very strong contender led by a professional team, I cannot believe you would have misled us in this way.

  As a matter of urgency please would you clarify the situation and explain why important information has only now become apparent.

  If this agreement with Sport England was in place throughout this time, the very least the Football Association should now consider is to reimburse Birmingham and Solihull's public expenditure on the project so far.

Letter dated 22 May 2002, to the Project Director, The Birmingham and Solihull English National Stadium Project from the Chief Executive, The Football Association

  The terms of the Carter review were set by government and were embarked on by all the key stakeholders (government, Sport England and the FA) with an open mind. They were clear; to establish if the project could be funded and managed at Wembley or, if that proved impractical, at another location in England.

  All the key stakeholders and the Carter review team were aware of the FA staging agreement with Wembley as it was very clearly part of the original lottery agreement which gave Sport England some security on the £130 million grant.

  In entering the review openly it was clear that should another location be the right way forward, the Wembley project would have to be closed down and all stakeholders would have to agree on how best to do this in the interests of seeing a new national stadium built.

  However, the result of the Carter review was that Wembley emerged as the FA's clearly favoured option for reasons that were made apparent in the review and supported by the Carter review team. It is for these reasons that it was decided by all parties to proceed with Wembley.

  Nothing has changed since then, and as far as the FA is concerned, Birmingham would remain an option for the national stadium should the new Wembley not proceed. As has always been the case, this would of course be subject to discussions by all the stakeholders on how best to abort the current project and any agreements relating to it.

  All parties have recognised that in the event that the Birmingham proposals were to be considered and proved viable that it would be necessary to conclude an event staging agreement in relation to the new stadium once the current legal commitments, relating to the national stadium project at Wembley, has been concluded in a way that satisfied all parties.

  I am very clear therefore that Birmingham have not been misled by either the Carter review team, government or the FA.

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