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MPs demand minister to oversee Wembley rebuild

MPs LAST week increased pressure on the Government to appoint a minister to oversee the redevelopment of Wembley stadium.

The all party Culture, Media & Sport committee warned that without a political heavyweight, vital support infrastructure will be neglected, undermining British attempts to stage international sporting events like the Olympic Games.

Calls for a Minister for Events to oversee the project and the development of a 37,000 seat stadium for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester came in a report* from the committee published last week.

The report expresses concern about the slow progress of the Manchester scheme, which has still to be built. It points out that 'many of the facilities for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006 are already in place'.

The report states: 'Evidence has emerged during our inquiry to suggest public sector involvement has lacked co-ordination.

'There is an urgent need for greater ministerial involvement to find a solution to several unresolved issues which are fundamental to this country's future success in attracting major events.'

Olympic-standard venues must include facilities like a warm up running track close to the main athletics arena. Good transport links to Olympic sites are also vital.

Current plans for the £316M redevelopment of Wembley do not include facilities outside the main stadium.

The select committee's call for a Minister for Events follows demands for a Minister for Wembley from stadium developer Wembley National Stadium and local authority Brent Council (News last week).

Brent has said it will demand £30M from the WNSL to upgrade its transport infrastructure. It has also written to sports minister Tony Banks and Millennium Dome minister Lord Falconer calling for Government involvement.

*Staging internation sporting events is available from the Stationery Office, tel (0345) 585463.

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