£30m cash row threatens Wembley plans

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The Independent Online

The project to raise and rebuild Wembley Stadium as the centerpiece of England's bid for the 2006 World Cup could be delayed for a year in a dispute over £30 million pounds in infrastructure improvements.

The £475-million-pound redevelopment plan for the famous stadium is to face approval later this month by the local authority.

Brent council wants the consortium doing the redevelopment to come up with a further £30 million more for road and rail improvements. The road and rail links to the area surrounding the stadium fall under the remit of Brent, but they believe Wembley should bear the cost.

Unless some agreement is reached it seems likely the planning application will be rejected and the whole scheme thrown into chaos.

Plans call for the stadium to be torn down after September's 2002 World Cup qualifier between England and Germany. Some have even suggested the old stadium should be remodeled and plans to build a new one scrapped.

"It is no more than idle speculation," said Wembley spokesman Martin Corrie. "We await the conclusion of the planning application and will assess the situation from there."

Reports suggest if the Wembley consortium is not given permission to raze and rebuild later this month, it will appeal to government environmental officials, which would lead to a 12-month delay in construction work being started.