MPs want a Minister for Events

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The Independent Online
TONY BLAIR should appoint a special minister to boost Britain's chances of hosting major events such as the 2006 Football World Cup, MPs said yesterday. A report from the influential Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee argued that a Minister for Events should take immediate responsibility for the Government's strategy on all major international events.

The minister, to be designated from the Cabinet Office, would also play a leading role in the organisation of the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games and the development of the new pounds 320m Wembley National Stadium.

The MPs warned that both projects were in urgent need of greater involvement by central Government. Spending to attract other international events, both sporting and non-sporting, should be given greater priority in future because they brought public benefits such as a "feel-good country", they added.

On the redevelopment of Wembley, MPs said the Minister should assume responsibility for Government involve- ment with the project "as a matter of urgency". There were uncertainties about whether the new stadium would fulfil not only its traditional role as a venue for soccer but also for top class athletics, such as the 2012 Olympics.