German bank poised to sign deal on Wembley

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Indy Politics
The Football Association is set to announce a £715m deal today with a German bank to build a new national stadium at Wembley.</p>The agreement, after weeks of negotiations with Westdeutsche Landesbank (WestLB), will be a relief both to the football authorities and the Government.</p>Under the plan, a "heads of agreement" contract will be signed today between Wembley National Stadium Ltd (an FA subsidiary) and WestLB. The full financing agreement would then be completed by mid-August.</p>The WestLB cash injection of about £400m will save the much-delayed project from collapse by providing more than half the capital. The rest is made up of FA and Lottery money.</p>WestLB was yesterday carrying out a final round of checks in the City on the viability of the project. But sources in both the FA and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said an announcement had been pencilled in for today. An FA insider said: "It's nearly there ⓠit's just a matter of the fine detail."</p>A reason for the tortuous process is paperwork ⓠthe final deal is expected to involve some 25 contracts that need to be scrutinised by financiers and lawyers.</p>Earlier this month, Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, faced derision when she announced that the FA had not been able to meet its 30 April deadline for completing its plans. Last week she had to face the Commons again to appeal to MPs for yet more patience.</p>Ms Jowell said: "The prospects are good, progress is promising, but the outcome is not yet certain. This isn't yet a done deal."</p>Clinching a deal will torpedo Birmingham's fading hopes of its rival bid to build a national stadium getting the go-ahead.</p>WestLB emerged as the sole bidder for the Wembley project after Barclays gave up its efforts to raise capital in the City.</p>The proposed new stadium will include a platform on which a running track for athletics can be included.</p>That means the FA will not have to return £20m of Lottery cash awarded to the project in the belief that it would be able to stage athletics events. </p>