FA Cup Final

Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th December 2000.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Huw Edwards Mr Huw Edwards Labour, Monmouth 12:00 am, 11th December 2000

What discussions he has had with officials of the millennium stadium, Cardiff about the hosting of the FA cup final. [141884]

Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of National Heritage) (Sport)

I have had no discussions with the officials of the millennium stadium on the issue. The arrangements for the FA cup final are a matter for the Football Association and the stadium authorities.

Photo of Mr Huw Edwards Mr Huw Edwards Labour, Monmouth

Does my hon. Friend agree that the millennium stadium, Cardiff is a world-class venue and a worthy place at which to bring the FA cup back to Wales for the first time since Cardiff City beat Arsenal in the 1927 cup final?

Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of National Heritage) (Sport)

I shall remember that fact. I am very confident that, should the millennium stadium be the venue for the FA cup final, it will be a wonderful venue. As my hon. Friend says, it is a wonderful stadium: indeed, it was a terrific venue for the rugby world cup final just last year.

Photo of Bob Russell Bob Russell Liberal Democrat, Colchester

Does the Minister agree that the best solution is to get the FA cup final back at Wembley?

Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of National Heritage) (Sport)

Clearly the hon. Gentleman is aware that, once the new Wembley stadium is built, the FA cup final will come back. However, at this stage—the FA would have to give us the final version on this—it is not suggested that the FA cup final will be played there again until the new stadium is built.

Photo of Russell Brown Russell Brown Labour, Dumfries

In view of Murrayfield's outstanding success earlier this year in hosting the rugby league world cup final, it is a great honour for the millennium stadium to be hosting the FA cup final. Keeping it in mind that the Football Association will have to look for alternative venues for the next two or three years, does the Minister not believe that it is a good idea for Murrayfield again to be consulted on the potential for hosting the FA cup final in that time?

Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of National Heritage) (Sport)

I share my hon. Friend's praise for Murrayfield—in particular for its hosting of the rugby league cup final, which I was privileged to attend. However, where FA cup finals are held is a matter for the FA, which will consult various bodies and supporters around the country. I am sure that it will make a decision that is in the best interests of football and football supporters.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath

I am not decrying the attractions of either the millennium stadium in Cardiff or Murrayfield as hugely successful rugby venues. However, does the Minister agree that it is now a huge embarrassment for the Government that Wembley's future has once again been thrown into turmoil? We know, as do the public, that there is a huge difference of view on that matter between the Minister for Sport and the Secretary of State. Is not this yet another fiasco, following the shambles of the dome? We want athletics back in the new Wembley stadium. Will the Minister now ensure that her views prevail over those of her boss?

Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of National Heritage) (Sport)

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will have read the statement issued by the Football Association on Friday, which the Government welcome. The FA will assume greater day-to-day control over the redevelopment of Wembley, and it will focus more on the core aspects of building a football stadium, which is what football supporters and the country want. The Government are committed to ensuring that a wonderful stadium is built at Wembley. We also want to ensure a long-term future for athletics in this country, and we are keeping in touch with the FA and with UK Athletics. The FA has now decided to scale down the project, and to look at the matter again. It is going to take hands-on control, which I welcome.