Dreams of a new super stadium for Birmingham could be revived after it was revealed talks had been held between Birmingham City Football Club and the city council.
The talks are being carried out as Birmingham publicly throws its weight behind a Solihull Council-led campaign to site a Las Vegas-style casino at the National Exhibition Centre.
The Solihull/Birmingham NEC bid failed to make a shortlist which includes seven national projects which are aiming to be given the first regional casino licence.
However, it is expected that after this initial round the Government will establish more 'super casinos'.
The Birmingham Post has learned that behind-thescenes talks have taken place to build a new stadium, with cash generated from a casino, which would not be built until years after the pilot regional gaming centre is established.
This would be a purely Birmingham project.
Concerns have been raised by the leader of Solihull Council that these talks would "send out the wrong message" to the Casino Advisory Panel, which is set to announce a preferred site for the super casino before the end of the year.
The CAP is still considering a revised NEC bid, which was submitted after it failed to make the original national shortlist in May.
This week it will begin conducting a series of public hearings exploring in detail the merits of the seven short-listed bids.
Solihull Council leader Ted Richards (Con Castle Bromwich) said the local authority was still hopeful that the NEC bid could make it back on to the CAP shortlist.
And an official from the NEC said both councils had been fully behind its attempts to site a super casino at its Solihull site.
However, Coun Richards said the panel would not look favourably on any behind-the-scenes talks, which would be perceived as a lack of unity within the bid team.
Referring to the failed bid to build a new national stadium at Bickenhill in Solihull, he said the Midlands had to be more unified if it was to be successful in bringing major projects to the region.
Coun Richards said: "My understanding is that there has been a good working relationship between the three working partners - Birmingham, Solihull and the NEC.
"I would be very concerned at this because, if we are going to ask the panel to recognise the benefits of the NEC, all the weight has to go behind the bid, so this would send out the wrong message."
Birmingham City are understood to be unenthusiastic about the idea of building a new stadium backed by a casino as it would be many years before it became a reality.
But council chiefs are keen to build sporting infrastructure that would one day enable the city to host the Commonwealth Games.
The current NEC proposal would see a sports village yards from Blues' current home being built with cash generated by a casino at its Solihull complex.
This scheme is based on a plan first mooted by the Blues in 2004 to build a super-stadium backed with cash from casino giants Las Vegas Sands.
The NEC plan was backed by councillors at the expense of the Blues scheme earlier this year.
A spokeswoman from the NEC said: "We have received tremendous support from Birmingham City Council.
"I am sure conversations on all sorts of things have gone on but at the moment we are all concentrating on bringing a regional casino to the National Exhibition Centre."