Conflicting reports raise new fears over Wembley

January 4, 2006

Wembley chiefs are taking heart from the fact builders Multiplex have issued no further warnings to the Australian Stock Exchange despite a new problem developing with the £757million stadium.

The latest issue concerns a dispute over the building of the main pedestrian walkway to the stadium but Wembley officials say work began on that part of the project yesterday and will be finished in 13 weeks.

That would only just make it in time for the proposed March 31 handover by builders Multiplex - any delay beyond that would mean the FA Cup final on May 13 would have to be played in Cardiff.

However, officials believe if there was any major problem with the walkway, Multiplex would have made another statement to the Australian Stock Exchange - something they did on three occasions before Christmas.

The last statement admitted there was 'material risk'' they would not complete the construction in time for the March 31 handover.

A Wembley spokesman said: 'Multiplex are still reassuring us that it is on track for handover on March 31 and it's our aim to open the stadium with the FA Cup final on May 13.''

The original contract was for Multiplex to hand over on January 31 but that has already been rescheduled.

The FA have already booked Cardiff's Millennium Stadium as a back-up venue for the May 13 final.