The deadlock between Wembley Stadium and Aussie builder Multiplex was only broken when the Football Association called in Lord Patrick Carter to mediate.
The former chairman of Sport England has reportedly managed to come up with a compromise solution that means neither side will lose face, and the 2007 FA Cup Final will be the first to be staged in the new stadium.
According to Mihir Bose, writing in The Daily Telegraph, the mistrust between FA subsidiary Wembley National Stadium Ltd. (WNSL) and the Sydney-based developer had grown to the point where the two sides weren’t even prepared to sit down in the same room together.
Multiplex wanted £100 million on top of the contractually agreed £458 million to compensate for the design changes that WNSL has made since the building began. The FA was determined to pay no more than £40 million.
Having organized secret meetings in London hotels, with both parties sitting in separate rooms, Lord Carter is said to have gone back and forth along the corridors between them until an agreement was thrashed out. It took a month.
After a fifth meeting on September 29th, by which time the two factions had come close enough together to sit in the same room, the FA and WNSL agreed to give Multiplex a further 130 days to finish the job and another £70 million.
It was nearly double the maximum the FA was prepared to stump up a month earlier, but Multiplex – in recognition that some of the delays were its own fault – agreed to give about half of it back.
The official announcement of the settlement, which was reported last week by Pollstar, was delayed until October 19th because it took a further three weeks to work out the precise wording of the deal.
– John Gammon