Hoey tipped for Cabinet role

Alan Hubbard says the Wembley farce may give sport louder voice

A SEAT in the Cabinet is on the cards for the Sports Minister, Kate Hoey, as the Government attempts to salvage something positive from the wreckage of the Wembley fiasco. Embarrassed by an episode that has made Britain the laughing stock of international sport, the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, is being urged by advisers to upgrade Hoey's present junior ministerial role in the next reshuffle.

The disappointing performance of Hoey's boss, Chris Smith, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, in the Wembley affair - he has been savaged in parliament by his Conservative opposite number, Peter Ainsworth, and widely criticised by leading sports administrators - has underlined the need to have a Cabinet voice which speaks up for sport. Smith is a nice man but his naivety in sports matters has been brutally exposed. He has always been more comfortable with grand opera than Grandstand and found himself out of his depth in the shark-infested waters of sport. Some sports leaders are particularly angry that Smith now says it is impossible to buoild a stadium to accomodate satisfactorily football and athletics. "In that case we must be the only country which can't," said one. "Perhaps he should visit the Olympic stadium in Rome to see how it is done."

Smith faces a further roasting next month when a parliamentary select committee conducts an inquiry into the five-year farce which has culminated with athletics, Britain's most successful sport, being booted out despite an original brief which made the grant conditional on both athletics and a prospective Olympics being incorporated into the pounds 475m project. The former Sports Minister Tony Banks and Sport England chiefs Derek Casey and Trevor Brooking, all involved in the original negotiations, also face censure.

Smith is unlikely to be jettisoned but I believe he will be told to stick to fine arts and Figaro and relieved of his sports overlordship, with the increasingly impressive Hoey given full ministerial responsibility and Cabinet status. This would bring Britain into line with most other major sports-playing nations, from France to Australia. Opposition leader William Hague, prompted by his Olympian aide Sebastian Coe, has already decided to give sport Cabinet ranking should the Tories be returned to office. "I sit at a distance open-mouthed at the incompetence of it all," says Coe. "It has been shambolic."

Indeed it has, but worse may follow if, as is widely believed in sport, hopes of staging the world athletics championships in 2005 are dashed. Plans to convert Twickenham are unlikely to be confirmed - if at all - before the bid deadline next month.

With any Olympic bid also wrecked and the prospects of hosting the 2006 World Cup fading, Wembley could end up with three own goals in its net.

Inside Lines, page 23

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
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

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Lawyer - Cheshire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...

Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital