Banks on the spot over sport academy

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The Independent Online
Tony Banks, the Minister for Sport, is facing a sporting challenge it will be hard for him to resist.

Mr Banks, an ardent Chelsea fan, has been challenged by a fellow Labour MP to a penalty shoot out at Wembley.

Alan Simpson offered Mr Banks the best out of five penalties to decide whether the proposed Centre for Sporting Excellence is based in the Midlands or the South.

However, Mr Banks, who is not noted for his footballing prowess, may have second thoughts as Mr Simpson had trials for the England team when he was a schoolboy.

Mr Simpson, the Labour MP for Nottingham South, fears that the minister will allow the centre to be created "within a comfortable coach ride of Wembley".

Insisting that it had to be based in the regions, Mr Simpson said: "If it is not, it will be perceived as yet another initiative driven by the narrow perceptions of the sporting establishment."

And he added: "The penalty shoot out would be the best of five - the winner decides on what we do." Colin Brown