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£1M wasted as FA 'misled' national stadium bidders

LOCAL AUTHORITIES who worked on £1M worth of alternative bids for the English national stadium were misled by the Football Association (FA) an MPs' report said last week.

In developing an alternative proposal for a national stadium in Birmingham, Birmingham City Council and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and the National Exhibition Centre invested £700,000 plus a further £300,000 raised through the private sector.

Despite receiving encouragement from the FA to develop their bids, Birmingham was unaware of a staging agreement between the FA and its project company Wembley National Stadium (WNSL), says the report.

The Commons Culture Media & Sport select committee report states that failure to make Birmingham fully aware of the FA's staging agreement with Wembley meant that 'the FA denied the partnership behind the proposal the opportunity to make a realistic assessment of its chances of success'.

The view is backed by written evidence from the Birmingham bid team. 'As the FA's staging agreement with Wembley stands as security over the lottery grant [which bought the old stadium], serious consideration of a Birmingham bid was never possible, ' stated Birmingham bid project director, Paul Spooner.

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