Running scared at Wembley

Inside lines

Any advance on £660m? The way the Wembley costs are spiralling, the final bill for Ken Bates' new stately home for football will comfortably hurdle the billion-pound barrier by the time the first brick is laid, according to expert opinion in the City. The words chickens and roost come to mind, thanks to the wrong-headness of Sport England and the Culture Secretary Chris Smith and the pig-headedness of Bates and Co. Despite those glittering Olympic prizes we remain, embarrassingly, the only significant sporting nation in the world without a multi-purpose national stadium to its name. Moreover, serious financial and environmental doubts have arisen about the viability of Picketts Lock to host the World Athletics Championships in 2005. London mayor Ken Livingstone is refusing to sign the required guarantee to assure the championships financially until the Government coughs up the promised cash. Now we hear whispers of a Downing Street re-think, which, in the increasingly likely event of Wembley not rais

Any advance on £660m? The way the Wembley costs are spiralling, the final bill for Ken Bates' new stately home for football will comfortably hurdle the billion-pound barrier by the time the first brick is laid, according to expert opinion in the City. The words chickens and roost come to mind, thanks to the wrong-headness of Sport England and the Culture Secretary Chris Smith and the pig-headedness of Bates and Co. Despite those glittering Olympic prizes we remain, embarrassingly, the only significant sporting nation in the world without a multi-purpose national stadium to its name. Moreover, serious financial and environmental doubts have arisen about the viability of Picketts Lock to host the World Athletics Championships in 2005. London mayor Ken Livingstone is refusing to sign the required guarantee to assure the championships financially until the Government coughs up the promised cash. Now we hear whispers of a Downing Street re-think, which, in the increasingly likely event of Wembley not raising the cash, Lottery assistance would be forthcoming on condition that a permanent running track is installed and Bates is replaced as chairman.

Boot the suits, says Hoey's shadow

John Greenway, who has discreetly and, he says, deliberately kept himself in the shadows as the Opposition spokesman on sport until the Olympic dust settled, has now come out of the blue corner ready to rattle a few establishment cages Not only is he scathing about the woes of Wembley ("It was a big mistake to kick out athletics. It should have been our Stade de France but the whole thing has become a shambles. Heads should have been banged together") but he is equally trenchant in his views about another troubled national edifice, the UK Sports Institute. "The Government have buggered it about," he says. "It was all part of John Major's dream that we should have a hands-on, track-suit environment, not a load of bureaucrats in suits sitting in an office in Russell Square. I'm not opposed to the regional structure, which would have evolved anyway, but the time it has taken to get the whole thing up and running is pretty disgraceful." His remarks bring a sharp response from the Russell Square headquarters of UK Sport, where the hub of the multi-spoked Institute is situated. "To describe us as bureaucrats is nonsense," says the Institute's director Roger Moreland, a former teacher and basketball coach. "The majority of those who will be working with the Institute have had considerable experience in sport and will be out and about working with the athletes and performance directors. They are certainly not suits."

Banks no to watchdog role

The former sports minister, Tony Banks, has declared himself a non-runner for the vacant post of chairman of the Independent Football Commission. "No way," replied Chelsea fan Banks when it was suggested he might apply to his old ministerial boss Chris Smith for the £15,000 per annum, four-days-a-month job as football's top watchdog. "I'm enjoying just being a supporter again too much." Banks is also contemplating writing a book about England's failure to secure the 2006 World Cup, for which he was Tony Blair's ambassador, though he is awaiting the outcome of the All-Party Parliamentary Select Committee investigation into the £10m-plus bid, which he says he welcomes. "The book will only happen if there's sufficient interest to warrant it."

Fox predicts another lady's day

No one was more delighted at the last-day double success in Sydney of modern pentathletes Stephanie Cook and Kate Allenby than Jim Fox, who first put the sport on the sporting map here when he led the British men's team to gold in the Montreal Olympics of 1976. Until recently the president of the Modern Pentathlon Association of Great Britain, Fox, who is now 59 and stricken with Parkinson's Disease, goes to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday to collect an OBE, self-effacingly insisting that the gong, in his case really is down to "other buggers' efforts". He says: "I feel I am accepting it on behalf of all those behind the scenes who have worked so hard to to bring the sport back to world class level, the people who stand in the wind and rain in their wellies making it possible for competitors like Steph and Kate to come back with the medals." Fox, always a good judge of talent, reckons there could be rich pickings in the next Games, too. "Keep an eye on Georgina Harland," he says. "She's something special."

Bob a job for Regis?

John Regis, not so long ago the fastest man in Europe and the Commonwealth over 200 metres, missed the last Olympics but he may well be in evidence at the next. The Winter Games, that is. Last week Regis, 36, was to be seen on a different sort of track, pushing the bob out at Lillehammer in Norway during the British selection trials for the Salt Lake City Games in 2002. He wasaccompanied by his former running mate Marcus Adam, 32, who unfortunately ended up in hospital with a shoulder injury after being involved in one of several crashes. According to former top bobber Mark Tout, who, as we revealed last week, ismaking a comeback after his four-year drugs suspension, both ex-athletes have a good chance of making it. "It's up to them," says Tout. "They obviously have the strength and speed but it is down to them whether they are dedicated enough to acquire the technique. " For Tout himself, the triumph of the two-man bob, which he piloted to victory a week ago, turned to disaster in Thursday's four-man event, when he and his crew weredisqualified after finishing fastest. "We were overweight." headmitted glumly. "A gross miscalculation on my part. But there'll be other chances."

insidelines@independent.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific