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Wembley fiasco goes on as athletics groups cry foul

NEWS

Foster and Partners may have to redesign its Wembley Stadium proposal yet againif a report for Sport England out at the end ofthe week is highly critical ofthe scheme's emphasis on football.

The report,by Wakefield architect David Lyons and Associates,wil look at the configuration ofsporting events ( AJ 18.11.99).Sports minister Kate Hoey said last week she was unhappy with the design's overemphasis on football.The scheme has a 6m-high temporary platform for athletics but it would take six months and £20 million to build.

However Wembley National Stadium said:'We have had ongoing dialogue with the department and our position has been made clear that we meet fully the requirements ofSport England to provide facilities for 65,000 athletics spectators.Our design improves on this by 3000.'A spokesman dismissed reports that the stadium proposal may have to be totally redesigned as 'nonsense'.

Meanwhile Labour came under hostile fire over the scheme in the Commons this week.Tory shadow culture secretary Peter Ainsworth said:'If the government is not to blame for the breathtaking and pitiful bungling ofthis major national project,we would like to know who is.'Fellow Tory Nick Hawkins said Hoey's predecessor,Tony Banks,should have been aware ofthe problem earlier.But Labour's Joe Ashton said football should take priority because 95 per cent ofthe revenue running costs would come from football.

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