Wembley Drops £22 Million

The need for the £433 million refinancing package Lord Triesman is negotiating for Wembley Stadium will become more clear when the Football Association announces the London stadium lost £22 million in its first year.

The official figures to be announced in May will also show some running costs have been as much as 50 percent over target, largely due to the security bill for any events that might be targeted by terrorists.

"We were prepared for the start-up costs and it’s not a problem going forward," a Wembley insider reportedly told the Daily Telegraph.

But Wembley National Stadium Ltd. (WNSL) directors are expected to meet later in the week to approve the refinancing, which will reduce the repayment costs on the £433 million borrowed in 2002 by stretching the loan period from 16 to 25 years.

There were fears that repaying the loan would limit the FA’s core function of supporting football from the grassroots level, but reducing the monthly payments is expected to give it a little breathing space.

The downside is that extending the loan will lead to a higher total cost of repayment than originally planned.

WNSL believes Lord Triesman, who took over as FA chairman three months ago, has proven that the banks have confidence in the long-term business plan.

As of 2008, the Foo Fighters are the only live act confirmed. Others are expected to be named within the next month.

This year’s FA Cup semifinals, which are usually staged in Birmingham or Sheffield, were both staged at Wembley to bring in extra revenue.

The success of the O2 Arena, currently the world’s most popular venue, is now seen as another threat to Wembley’s financial health. The stadium is limited in the number of non-sporting events it can hold for fear of damaging the football field. It was left in a dreadful state after staging an NFL game.

The FA is committed to paying £13 million to cover this year’s losses, but its finances are in good shape after it pulled in £550 million from television deals.

German bank WestLB, which loaned money to rescue the troubled project six years ago, is believed to be heading the consortium that’s arranging the new loan. Others, from a list that includes Lehman Brothers, Societe Generale, Lloyds TSB Corporate Capital and Barclays, are believed to be bowing out.