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Wembley set for rebuilding two years after last match

© Reuters 2002

MANCHESTER, Aug 2 (Reuters) - British sports minister Richard Caborn is hoping plans to rebuild Wembley will be finalised within weeks, with bulldozers moving into the stadium in September almost two years after it staged its last match.

"Hopefully Wembley will be sorted out in the next few weeks," Caborn told reporters on Friday. "All the indications are that the financial arrangements are about to be prepared and hopefully bulldozers will go in in September and we'll be able to see the new Wembley emerging from the ashes," he said.

Construction of the new national arena has been dogged by years of blunders, political indecision and funding delays, only ending when Germany's Westdeutsche Landesbank agreed two months ago to help finance a project whose costs have soared.

The new stadium is expected to cost more than 700 million pounds ($1.10 billion), 420 million of which will come from the German bank.

It will replace the old Wembley, scene of England's only World Cup triumph when they beat West Germany 4-2 in the 1966 final.

The venue staged its last match in October, 2000. The problems surrounding the project, combined with the Britain being forced to abandon its plans to stage the 2005 world athletics championships, have greatly tarnished the country's reputation for organising major sporting events.

But Caborn said the success of Manchester's Commonwealth Games had done much to restore Britain's reputation

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