Fulham Football Club has admitted defeat and abandoned plans for a new stadium designed by the Miller Partnership, with a 42 per cent hike in construction costs cited as the main reason.
The club claims that the price of the scheme has now escalated out of control, with estimated costs jumping from an original figure of £70 million to more than £100 million. The project - which has been held up by legal objections from local residents (AJ 26.9.02) - would have seen the complete redevelopment of the existing Craven Cottage site, including its replacement with a new 30,000capacity stadium.
However, the club's controversial chairman Mohamed Al Fayed has finally accepted defeat, saying that a mixture of the financial problems hitting football as a whole and the cost of the project have rendered it untenable.
It is unclear where Fulham will play its home games in the future. In a statement Al Fayed said a series of alternatives 'under consideration' could include the purchase of another site for development or a long-term ground share. 'If the proposed stadium were now to be built according to the original plans the cost would exceed £100 million, ' he said. 'Clearly to saddle the club with this magnitude of debt in the current financial climate would be foolhardy in the extreme.'
The Miller Partnership refused to comment.