The managing director of Birmingham City Football Club yesterday rejected suggestions that the club's new "super-stadium" could be built without a casino.
Karren Brady (pictured) dismissed proposals from council officials that money generated from siting a casino at the National Exhibition Centre in Solihull could go towards a new stadium in Saltley.
She said that only by having a casino on the site of the proposed City of Birmingham Stadium would enough funding be available for a "sporting village" which would act as a catalyst for regeneration in the area.
The club and US casino giant Las Vegas Sands will be outlining their proposals next month for a 55,000-capacity, modern multi-sports stadium to be built on the 55-acre site.
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The arena, plans for which were revealed in The Birmingham Post more than 18 months ago, will cater for international cricket matches, major athletics championships and Blues' home games.
Ms Brady said yesterday that Blues had plans in place to redevelop its existing St Andrew's home if the bid to move was unsuccessful.
Planning permission to redevelop the main stand was secured four years ago and residents had been consulted on the potential to boost St Andrews' capacity from just under 30,000 to about 42,000.
However, Ms Brady said Birmingham would gain a valuable sporting complex which would kick-start regeneration in a deprived inner-city area if a supercasino, proposed under the Government's relaxation of gambling laws, was given the go-ahead.
"The casino is crucial as it is such a large part of our plan to have a truly worldclass stadium," she said.
"There has been talk that we could get some cash from the NEC proposal which would enable us to build a stadium but this is not about Birmingham City Football Club, it is about creating a true sporting village that could benefit the whole community."
Blues are hoping they will become tenants in the new multi-purpose stadium, which would be owned by the city council, only a mile away from St Andrews.
Las Vegas Sands has agreed to help to fund the complex with #117 million towards the estimated #200 million arena, providing its obtains the super-casino licence.
But the city council is also considering the rival NEC plan.
Last week The Birmingham Post revealed senior council officials had been helping that bid for the last ten months. If Blues' casino application proves unsuccessful, the club would have to spend more than #20 million upgrading the main stand at St Andrews.
Ms Brady added: "It is an exciting development that would put the city on the map as a world-leading venue."