Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, faced bitter attacks from MPs of all parties as she announced a fresh delay to plans to build a national football stadium at Wembley.
She was jeered as she told the Commons she had given the Football Association more time to raise funding for the stadium in north London.
The FA has told the Government it is within a "hair's breadth" of reaching a £400m deal with the German bank Westdeutsche Landesbank to finance the construction of a new home for English football.
In an emergency Commons statement, Ms Jowell said: "I do not believe it would be right or reasonable to pull the plug ... when the prospects of success look better than ever."
When the project ran into further trouble before Christmas, Ms Jowell set a 30 April deadline for raising the backing. She said then that Birmingham would be given the chance to develop a rival scheme.
Tim Yeo, the shadow Secretary for Sport, said: "Britain has now become a complete laughing stock in international sporting circles."Reuse content