英伦广角British Vision(16):新温布利大球场将延期竣工

Well, it was football's worst-kept secret, but now the truth is out. Despite the promises, Wembley Stadium will not be ready for the FA Cup final on May 13th. The match will be held in Cardiff instead. It's a humiliating blow for Multiplex, the Australian company, which won the contract to build the new Wembley. They blame constant design changes and problems with subcontractors for the delay and picking up the tab for the overrun, a sum that could top a hundred million pounds. Our business correspondent Faisal Islam has this report.

Que Será, Será. Wherever will be will be. No one is going to Wembley, the home of English Football, now yet another addition to the litany of disastrous British infrastructure projects. Finally today, the Football Association admitted what has been suspected for many months, the FA Cup final, long planned as the showpiece debut for the stadium, moved after Australian developer’s Multiplex couldn’t guarantee it will be ready.

"Multiplex and indeed WNSL are unable to give us a hundred percent certainty that the stadium will be completed in time for the FA Cup final. Due to the magnitude of the Cup final, we are not prepared to compromise or take any risk on the stadium being unable to stage such a significant event."

It was meant to be ready in January, but constructing this 133-meter-high roof supporting landmark steel arch proved more complicated than expected, and it caused a series of fallouts with contractors including a 50-million-pound high court lawsuit.

They had six months where nothing was really being done in terms of the steel, because the steel was the biggest single component of this job, and the problem is they lost a lot of time on that, and therefore, so all backed up, so they had to find men and resources, and just chuck money at the job later to try and catch up to make up for the lost time.

The cost of this 90,000 capacity arena have escalated beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. The original costing was 325 million pounds. That’s more than doubled to almost 760 million. Putting together the finance alone cost 80 million pounds, and fees for lawyers and bankers stand at 82 million. It all adds up to 3,918 pounds per seat, making it far more expensive than other European stadiums. But those numbers aren’t the end of it. Multiplex has been picking up the bill over and above those costs after the FA cunningly got it to sign a fixed price contract. The Australian company undercut other bidders substantially, determined that it was to use Wembley as a flagship for its international expansion. Multiplex is expected to announce this week that it’s nursing losses of well over 100 million pounds on the projects.But no one comes out of this fiasco particularly well.

“In the birth of the Wembley Stadium, project was very difficult. There are a number of politicians involved in it. There are a number of different ideas about what they should actually do, whether athletics should be involved in it, and then the FA made a stupid move of putting a fixed price contract on it, but that put a huge amount of pressure on the contractors.”

So the FA can’t be too smug. It has a 425-million-pound loan to pay back, mainly through staging music concerts.

"Bon Jovi concert is still going ahead, so I presume that means, TakeThat concert is going ahead as well. But, if I put all this effort into it, and / sold all the tickets for it, because both of them have two shows, I would be very upset."

So Bon Jovi aren’t the only ones living on the prayer. The project was controversial enough from inception, a sport rolling in TV cash, receiving a 170 million pounds of public subsidy to buy this site at what's widely considered to have been a vastly inflated price. The experience here doesn’t bode well for the far more complex plan to host 2012 Olympics.

Faisal Islam. Now....

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