Examination of Witnesses (Questions 400
TUESDAY 21 MAY 2002
400. We have been concerned, as you will appreciate,
with the public money that is in this project and the security
of that public money. Certainly from evidence that we have received
from some witnesses, and I think Mr Cunnah repeated it again today,
it was certainly our impression that the FA and WNSL were quite
distinct as far as the liability for that money. We did reflect
a little on the irony of that in relation to the Football League's
current position and the action which that company is proposing
to take against ITV Digital, Carlton and Granada. You said earlier,
Mrs Simmonds, that the FA and WNSL were signatories to the Lottery
Funding Agreement. Could you just clarify for the Committee exactly
what the liability of the FA would be if this project does not
go forward and it collapses?
(Mrs Simmonds) WNSL and the FA are both signatories
to the Lottery Funding Agreement. If the project fails WNSL has
to repay the grant of £120 million within that agreement
and if WNSL was to fail then there is a staging agreement which
is direct with the FA which would allow us to recover the money
from the staging of events at Wembley for the next 20 years.
401. Does that mean technically the FA would
be liable if WNSL fails?
(Mrs Simmonds) The FA would be liable for the staging
402. Tell us what the staging agreement means?
(Mr Fytche) The staging agreement is basically a contract
between WNSL and the FA which requires the FA to stage its matches
at Wembley for a period of time.
403. At the existing Wembley?
(Mr Fytche) Indeed. Sport England is a party to the
staging agreement itself.
404. Just so I am clear, if WNSL fails the FA
are obligated to repay that money but that would be done through
an agreement which would require the FA to play the Cup Final
and all international matches at the existing Wembley. What if
that is not technically possible because of health and safety
notices, environmental health?
(Mrs Simmonds) They would have to put the stadium
back in order to do it.
(Mr Fytche) There has been some work done to evaluate
that option because it is a key question to make sure that there
is a solution which brings the stadium into use.
405. The bottom line is if the project fails
the FA is liable?
(Mrs Simmonds) Yes.
Chairman: Thank you for that confirmation.
Thank you, Members of the Committee, for your durability. I declare
this session closed.