Football chiefs to decide on Wembley's future

The future of Wembley, operator of the world-famous but shabby sports stadium, hangs in the balance this weekend with a decision on the location of a new national stadium expected to be effectively decided early next week. Shares in the company closed 8.5p lower last night at 395p, ahead of the decision, but they have risen sharply in recent days as the market became more convinced that the stadium will stay in the capital.

A decision by the footballing authorities, the Premier League and Football Association, is expected to be delivered to the Sports Council on Monday or Tuesday detailing their preferred location. Wembley faces a challenge from Manchester City Council, which wants to move the stadium to the North, but it is thought increasingly unlikely to pose a serious threat.

The Sports Council has until the end of the year to make up its mind, although it is understood that it will probably ratify whatever decision "football" recommends. Once it has decided on the site, detailed costings will be drawn up during the first half of next year before a formal application is made to the Sports Lottery Board for a grant. About two thirds of the cost of building the new stadium, estimated at between pounds 130m and pounds 170m, is expected to come from Lottery funds.

One of the factors acting in Wembley's favour is likely to be its dramatic recent return to financial health. After a successful Euro 96 football tournament, the company, which also owns greyhound tracks in America, reversed a pounds 5.5m pre-tax loss into a pounds 7.7m profit in the six months to June. The Wembley complex itself reported more than doubled operating profits of pounds 7.9m during the period.

Wembley said yesterday that, with a decision from the Sports Council not expected before the end of the year, it was too early to assess the financial implications of winning the stadium bid. Analysts have become increasingly enthusiastic about the company's prospects, however, with one broker putting a value of 520p on the shares.

If Wembley gets the nod, it will have the opportunity to put in place an ambitious scheme to transform the stadium, including rotating the ground through 90 degrees to solve problems for television coverage in bright, early evening sun, and the use of the stadium's twin towers to create a grandiose entrance.

Designed by Sir Norman Foster, the radical plans also include a retractable roof and giant video screens to relayevents inside to crowds outside.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific