Funding crisis and government rethink on project leaves design team and contractor Multiplex in limbo.
The design team working on the troubled Wembley stadium project has been temporarily dropped, the client confirmed this week.

A spokesperson for Wembley National Stadium Limited said the designers and contractor Multiplex would be stood down today to limit the Football Association's costs. He added that the workforce could return to full strength in a month if the scheme got off the ground again.

The decision was made at a board meeting held by WNSL on Monday to discuss the scaling down of its operations. The team has been suspended for the duration of a government committee review of the project, which is to be headed by Jack Straw. This follows the FA's admission that the project could not proceed without government funding.

The design team includes a Foster and Partners/HOK Sport joint venture, engineer Mott MacDonald and quantity surveyor Franklin + Andrews.

It is understood that the work could be picked up later in the year once the review has been completed.

"The project team will not have to retender for the project," WNSL stated. An insider said everybody involved in the work had been left completely in the dark over the future.

The collapse of the scheme came under fire this week from members of the mayor's advisory committee on London's 2012 Olympic bid.

Judith Mayhew, the mayor's city and business adviser, said it harmed the image of the capital.

She said: "We've been unable to decide on a venue for the 2005 World Athletics Championships or the future of Wembley. The Americans are already talking us down. But we would be barking mad to think these things could go outside London."

  • Harrods boss Mohamed Al Fayed is making plans to rescue the arena. Al Fayed, who also owns Fulham FC, has confirmed reports that he plans to move Fulham to the Wembley site while its Craven Cottage ground is refurbished.

    A spokesperson for Al Fayed confirmed that he was planning to make a formal registration of interest.