The painful gestation of Wembley Stadium is not over yet, though. There is a question mark over whether the finances can be raised from the City by the 30 April deadline set by culture secretary Tessa Jowell – by then, management and resources are supposed be in place.
In an effort to convince the government that it has a management team capable of building the stadium, Wembley National Stadium Ltd (now part of the FA) this week announced a new board of seven members possessing core skills in construction/capital project management. In the management shake-up, the FA replaced chairman Sir Rodney Walker with Michael Jeffries, chairman of engineering consultant WS Atkins.
Any further delay may have implications for the project cost. Contractor Multiplex has held its contract price since 1 January last year, but reports suggest that it will raise its price if the scheme misses the 30 April deadline, when the contract expires. Also, failure to meet the deadline may even mean the stadium is offered to Birmingham.
Although there is provision for a temporary athletics track to be installed at Wembley, if London won the 2012 Olympics it would host just the football, as the IOC insists that the main Olympic stadium must have a permanent track. Building has learnt that the Arup report on the business case for the games will recommend that a new Olympic stadium be built in Stratford, East London.
A stadium in East London fits in with the GLA's regeneration plans for the area, and Stratford should be blessed with excellent transportation links by 2012. As well as being connected to the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, the area also lies on the proposed CrossRail route and will benefit from the Docklands Light Railway extension to City Airport.
Other proposed sites for the games include the Millennium Dome for the gymnastics, the Lea Valley for a Velodrome and East London for the 50m swimming pool. The Arup report suggests that satellite swimming events such as water polo and synchronised swimming could take place at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre and the new 50m pool proposed for Hillingdon, West London.
The Crystal Palace National Sports Centre already has a pool but incredibly it has been found to be 3cm short of the 50m length required and would have to be extended before it could host Olympic events. The construction industry will be hoping that this will be the last time that a UK sports venue comes up short.