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Pressure on subbies to hit Wembley deadline

NEWS - Multiplex meets with 25 firms to discuss challenges in getting stadium ready for May final

MULTIPLEX gathered in its trade contractors last week for a call to arms meeting as part of a final rallying cry to get Wembley finished in time for the FA Cup Final.

The firm's UK boss Martin Tidd met senior directors from around 25 firms to urge them to work together to hit the end of March completion deadline.

He said: 'It was a fairly low-key meeting over drinks. We were talking about the challenges that we faced.' And he admitted that more firms would feel the heat over the coming weeks: 'We are putting huge pressure on trade contractors to drive us over the line.

'Sometimes that creates financial pressure on the subcontractors and two have already gone belly-up and there is a risk that other contractors won't be able to see it through.' Mr Tidd rated the chances of completing the work in time for the May 13 Cup Final at 70 per cent and admitted this had deteriorated since Christmas following problems with the steelwork.

He added: 'At the beginning of December I would have put this figure at 80 per cent.

'Everything will have to run like a Swiss watch.' He said the firm would know in three weeks time whether the Cup Final could be played at Wembley or not. The project was recently hit by a damaging walkout from the project's sparks following a dispute over pay and conditions.

Around 1,000 electricians are still on site and Multiplex admitted similar problems would scupper the chances of a March handover.

But Mr Tidd insisted: 'We will not be held to ransom.' In a planned update to the Australian Stock Exchange, Multiplex said other factors such as design changes, the weather and commissioning could also throw the deadline off-course.

But for the first time it admitted the stadium would not be completely finished by the March deadline, instead referring to a 'substantial completion'.