Will Wembley be Sky Dome?

Inside Lines

With everyone now getting their Twickers in a twist over Wembley - the unseemly scrum continues with an abundance of rucking, mauling and stamping now that the home of rugby has entered the lists as an improbable alternative venue for athletics and the Olympics - it is now evident that the Ken Bates' football faction has won. But any imminent victory may yet prove to be more Pyrrhic than profitable. The Football Association, now set to be sole mine hosts at the refurbished hostelry will have to find upwards of £400m to to pay for the privilege as the original Lottery money, or at least £20m of it, is forcibly withdrawn and costs escalate. Despite the assertion of Bates that 18 banks are queuing up to put their money into the project, City insiders say that knees are knocking as the wretched row rages on. The concern expressed by the Football League chairman Peter Middleton about how the FA will also find the £50m a year needed to service the Wembley debt has not helped. "There is a huge

With everyone now getting their Twickers in a twist over Wembley - the unseemly scrum continues with an abundance of rucking, mauling and stamping now that the home of rugby has entered the lists as an improbable alternative venue for athletics and the Olympics - it is now evident that the Ken Bates' football faction has won. But any imminent victory may yet prove to be more Pyrrhic than profitable. The Football Association, now set to be sole mine hosts at the refurbished hostelry will have to find upwards of £400m to to pay for the privilege as the original Lottery money, or at least £20m of it, is forcibly withdrawn and costs escalate. Despite the assertion of Bates that 18 banks are queuing up to put their money into the project, City insiders say that knees are knocking as the wretched row rages on. The concern expressed by the Football League chairman Peter Middleton about how the FA will also find the £50m a year needed to service the Wembley debt has not helped. "There is a huge amount of money to be raised and no equity given," Middleton, himself a former merchant banker, says. The reality is that the FA will be hard put to find the cash from investors,and may be forced cut back on some of Lord Foster's elegant if grandiose plans. If this proves to be so then what price a helping hand-in-the-pocket from that well-known football benefactor Rupert Murdoch. Word has it that he would love to plunge his fingers into the Wembley pie in order to associate the BSkyB television empire with the project, alongside the stakes he has acquired in various Premiership clubs, though hopefully he would stop short of insisting it be re-named the Sky Dome. Alternatively the FA might consider asking the Premiership for a sub from the £1bn plus that Murdoch is expected to pay next time for exclusive TV rights.

Lewis the knight owl

Speculation abounds that the newly crowned undisputed world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis is to be knighted in the new year. It may seem a bit far-fetched, not to say premature, but it is just the populist thing our bandwagonning Prime Minister might endorse. Proclaiming Lewis as Britain's first black sporting knight, and certainly the first to be dubbed in dreadlocks. would enhance the Blair street cred. Lewis himself certainly seems to have heard the rumours, if nothing else. "Who knows,if it comes,I will definitely welcome it," he replied when asked about the possibility in a TV interview. Whether such an accolade would be popular among the sportswriting fraternity is open to question. Lewis failed to turn up to receive his Sportsman of the Year award at the annual bash of the Sports Writers' Association on Monday morning and also missed the subsequent lunch arranged in his honour by the Boxing Writers' Club, some of whom had travelled from the provinces. His manager Frank Maloney told the put-out scribes the fighter had flu, but a hangover seems the more plausible explanation for the double snub. Lewis had shown up the night before for the obviously more prestigious BBC TV awards but was later observed seen partying until dawn with Manchester United players who, true to form, also failed to put in an appearance at the SWA function for their team of the year award. No show? More like bad show.

No place for Banks

Another notable absentee from the sportswriters' Cafe Royal function was Tony Banks, the former Minister for Sport. Organisers wanted to invite him in his capacity as 2006 World Cup bid envoy but received the broadest of hints from ministry officials that if they asked Banks they were unlikely to have then pleasure of the company of the present Minister for Sport, Kate Hoey. "If that's true, it's pathetic," said Banks. "I can only assume that Kate knew nothing about it." However it is no secret that the two are not on each other's Christmas card list, and theirs might have been an uncomfortable pairing on the top table. At least the occasion gave Hoey the opportunity to reinforce her views about the scatty idea of a raised platform track at Wembley. "It's nice to be on platform where I can actually see everybody," she told the assembly from the podium.

Campbell soups up school sport

The appointment of the formidable Sue Campbell, director of the Youth Sport Trust, as special adviser to both the sports and education ministries on school sport and PE issues is a progressive development which suggests there is a now genuine determination at Westminster to improve the quality of sporting education at its most basic level. It also suggests that Ms Campbell, 51, is destined for high office in sports administration, perhaps as eventual successor to the out-of-favour Derek Casey, chief executive of Sport England, who is known to be unhappy at having taken most of the flak over the Wembley debacle.

Royal seal of disapproval

We are assured there is no truth in suggestions that the Princess Royal either voted against, or abstained from, all 50 proposals for reforming the Olympic movement in Lausanne last week. She certainly did disapprove of a ban on IOC members visiting bidding cities because, mistakenly, she was under the impression it would prevent her watching any sporting event in that city. But HRH's open disenchantment with the way the International Olympic Committee is run by Juan Antonio Samaranch is such that it surely cannot be long before she hands over the reins as one of Britain's two IOC members to another former Olympian, though word has it that she would prefer it not to be the ubiquitous Sebastian Coe.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
Sister Cristina Scuccia sings 'Like a Virgin' in Venice
music

Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
i100
Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

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

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

KS2 Teacher

£100 - £150 per day + Flexible with benefits: Randstad Education Group: Key St...

Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, SQL

£39000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML,...

English Teacher Full Time & Part time.

£100 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: This outstanding school in the ...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album