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Wembley project not value for money MPs told

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WEMBLEY STADIUM contractor Multiplex received preferential treatment when it was awarded the £325M job, MPs heard on Tuesday.

As a result, the project does not give value for money, former Wembley project manager Tropus told the cross party Culture Media & Sport select committee.

'Best practice was definitely not followed and the project does not represent value for money, ' said Tropus chairman, David Hudson.

'In our opinion one of the invited contractors received preferential treatment.'

Failure to adopt fully competitive procurement practice has delayed the project, Atkins chairman Michael Jeffries told the committee.

Jeffries was also appointed chairman of Wembley National Stadium Ltd, the Football Association subsidiary set up to develop the new venue in April (NCE 18 April) .

'If the contractor had been appointed through a competitive tendering process, we would have got to where we are today a lot quicker.'

Independent chartered surveyor Cyril Sweett concluded earlier this month that the construction price was competitive.

Jeffries admitted that negotiations with WestLB, the bank which is providing finance for the project, will take between eight and 10 weeks to complete.

If this breaks down and construction has not started by the end of this year, 2.8ha of the 12.4ha site, must be returned to Wembley plc. This would mean that the stadium would not be built.

Should this happen, Sport England, which administrates the £120M lottery grant for the project, would reclaim the money. This could force Wembley to reopen the old stadium.

'To repay this (the grant) the FA is legally bound to hold its events at the old stadium until the debt is repaid, ' said Sport England chief executive David Moffet.

WNSL said refurbishing the old stadium to enable major sporting events to be staged there would cost around £100M.

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