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to find upwards of £400m to to pay for the privilege as the original Lottery money, or at least £20m of it, is forcibly withdrawn and costs escalate.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to find upwards of £400m to to pay for the privilege as the original Lottery money, or at least £20m of it, is forcibly withdrawn and costs escalate.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.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little