German bank bids to save Wembley plan

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The Independent Football

A German bank is in last-minute talks to finance the planned £715million development of an English national stadium at Wembley, it was reported today.

Westdeutsche Landesbank is said to be in discussions with Wembley National Stadium Limited and proposing a £400m-£500m package for the north-west London site.

If the deal is accepted, WestLB will trump Barclays, which had been thought to be the only serious contender to finance the construction of a 90,000-seater stadium with a £300m plan, the Financial Times said.

The paper added that Barclays was understood to be close to finishing due diligence on the project but will now go "head-to-head" with WestLB to secure the deal.

The development could be the latest twist to a long-running saga dating back to the mid-1990s.

Arguments have centred around spiralling costs and plans to demolish the dilapidated stadium's famous Twin Towers to the new arena's ability to host other sports other than football.

The Government last year refused to step in as a "banker of last resort" after funding problems, prompting the appointment of a troubleshooter to assess alternative bids.

Patrick Carter recommended that Wembley promoters present final proposals, while Birmingham and Solihull's joint bid be "actively considered" if the Wembley scheme was not accepted "within a reasonable timescale".

The Wembley promoters reportedly have until the end of this month to come up with funding for the project.

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